If you fly every week, or sometimes three times a week, like I do, you must be wondering “what is going on?” Day after day another report of aircraft being grounded, inspections missed and safety warnings being issued.
It’s no different on this story, only this warning is coming straight from the cockpit. American Airlines pilots are telling us they are losing faith in the safety of their aircraft, and the fear is American Airlines is a trendsetter in the industry.
Tonight, we report on one specific problem: landing nose gear that won’t retract into the aircraft after take off. At American there have been nearly 2 dozen of these incidents in just the past month. And though American Airlines tells us it is not a major concern, Captain Sam Mayer will tell you how he nearly had a catastrophic event take place when his landing gear incident led to much more serious problems on a freezing day in Minneapolis.
What has struck me about this story is the nature of the responses we got from both American Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration. It reminded me of what my high school water polo coach used to say in practice: “No blood no foul.” Coach Bubba-Fish, as we called him, liked to play rough. If he didn’t see anyone bleeding in the pool, no fouls were called.
The FAA told us since all the American Airlines MD-80’s with nose gear issues landed safely, there really wasn’t a safety issue.
American told us its fleet of 300 MD-80’s complete 1200 flights a day and 23 landing gear issues over the course of a few months really isn’t a big deal.
Like Coach Bubba-Fish used to say, “No blood no foul.” I wonder if you feel the same way.
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- Drew Griffin, CNN Special Investigations Unit
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