How did Delta pilot land plane at CLT without use of nose gear?

CHARLOTTE — The investigation into why the landing gear on a Delta flight didn’t work Wednesday is just beginning, and it could take months before there’s an answer.

Everyone involved is OK after Delta flight 1092 touched down at Charlotte Douglas Wednesday morning without its front landing gear extended. The plane, which originated from Atlanta, had more than 100 people were on board, including two pilots and three flight attendants.


Many passengers are now asking the same question: How did this happen? Channel 9′s Almiya White spoke with an aviation expert Thursday to get that answer.

Michael Lowrey gave tremendous credit to the flight crew. Like many across the world, he had his eyes glued to the images coming from the airport.

“This is a sort of thing that flight crews are trained to deal with, you know, in terms of level of emergency,” Lowery said.

He said pilots go through a checklist just before landing.

“One of those steps is, let’s deploy the landing gear. And let’s make sure that we are getting indications that our gear is down and locked in place,” Lowrey said.

That wasn’t the case for Flight 1092 -- the landing gear was still in the “up” position. Lowrey said that made it crucial for the pilots to rely on the plane’s back wheels more than usual.

“He’s just trying to keep his nose up longer just to minimize the damage,” Lowrey said. “You’re not scraping on the runway more than you have to.”

The plane landed safely in Charlotte with no reported injuries, which Lowrey said is largely due to the pilot’s skill and experience.

“That’s critical in any sort of emergency situation,” he said. “Stay calm.”

Passengers told Channel 9 Wednesday that’s exactly what the flight crew did.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating why the landing gear didn’t work and will also examine the plane’s maintenance records. A preliminary report could be available within a couple of weeks, but the final report could take months.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian shared a statement with Channel 9 about the incident, thanking the crew in the process.

“I want to extend my sincere thanks to the crew of Delta flight 1092 who took such great care of our customers today after the aircraft’s nose gear failed to deploy,” the statement reads. “Our crews train extensively for situations like this and I’m proud of their professionalism in landing the aircraft safely. To our customers onboard, please know that your safety is our No. 1 priority – always. We have your back, and our teams are working to get you to your final destination just as quickly as possible. Thanks as always for the trust you place in us.”

(WATCH: Video shows plane landing without nose gear extended)

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV

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