Reprinted from the Las Vegas Review Journal. By Richard N. Velotta.
Two Allegiant Air executives, the vice president of operations and the director of flight safety, were at the controls of the flight that made an emergency landing last week because it was nearly out of fuel.
Greg Baden, Allegiant’s vice president of operations, and Michael Wuerger, director of flight safety, government affairs and quality assurance, were flying Allegiant’s Flight 426 from McCarran International Airport to the Fargo, N.D., Hector International Airport on July 23.
A representative of Allegiant confirmed that Baden and Wuerger were flying the plane, adding it is not uncommon for members of operations management to take flights to maintain their pilot status.
Allegiant said it is cooperating with the Federal Aviation Administration in an investigation of the emergency landing, which was complicated by the closure of the Fargo airport for a practice session of the Navy’s Blue Angels precision flight team, which was preparing for an air show.
Flight 426, with 144 passengers and six crew members on board, left Las Vegas an hour behind schedule and couldn’t reach Fargo before closure of the airspace.
While a transcript of the conversation between the Allegiant cockpit and Fargo’s air traffic control center indicated the twin-engine MD-80 jet was dangerously low on fuel as it approached Fargo, Allegiant officials say the plane had 42 minutes of fuel remaining when it arrived at 1:02 p.m., Central Daylight Time.
The exchange between the plane and the tower, posted Tuesday on the LifeATC.net website, indicated that airline officials were trying to contact the tower by phone to get clearance to land, but were unsuccessful, leading to further conversation once the plane was within range of the Fargo tower. To read the full transcript of the exchange, click here and here.
This is another in a string of incidents that have plagued Allegiant Air in the last month. Earlier in July, an Allegiant Air plane was forced to make an emergency landing after take off due to mechanical problems. This came just a week after one of their planes was unable to take off after sitting on the runway for over an hour.
For more information about Brodkowitz Law and our work representing injured passengers and flight crew worldwide visit our website or contact us. You can also find us on Facebook for up-to-date information about our firm and breaking stories.