Air lines officials say maintenance crews investigating problems leading to landing
Flights were back to normal at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport after a Delta plane had to make an emergency landing Thursday morning.
Crews had to shut down the runway after the landing.
Kelly Johnson of XNA said Flight 5358 was departing for Atlanta with 50 people and three crew members on board.
The plane turned back after the pilot lost directional steering of the nose wheel, and it landed at 10:22 a.m., Johnson said.
“We climbed for the first five minutes and it was a little rougher than normal,” said passenger Nancy Bohnhoff. “And then it became obvious he was no longer climbing in altitude, so we knew something was up.”
Bohnhoff said takeoff from XNA was otherwise normal. She said the plane was in the air for about 15 minutes before the pilot came over the intercom and said he would have to return to Fayetteville.
There was a tire blowout, but no major damage to the plane. Johnson said no one was injured and passengers got off the aircraft and were bused to the terminal.
Johnson said crews train for situations like this all year long.
“We do live drills,” Johnson said. “We’ve got plans in place. We’ve got different levels of alerts.”
Johnson said the airport handles about 20 to 25 cases where planes experience “aircraft alerts.”
“This was an alert two,” said Johnson. “A little more significant than a level one with an aircraft, but we were all staged, ready to go.”
Other flights were delayed, according to @flyXNA.
Emergency officials were also alerted.
Delta Air Lines officials said their maintenance crews are investigating the problems leading to the emergency landing.