Great Video, But Little Danger in Emergency Jet Landing

The technique in this kind of landing has been well-established: Keep the nose up slightly after the main wheels are on the deck, until a significantly slower airspeed is reached (around 65 to 75 knots). Then the pilot gently "flies" the nosewheel onto the runway (you don't let it just plunk onto the surface).

Nose tires cocked 90 degrees are going to simply act like a brake. The friction helps the pilots slow while producing a column of smoke as the rubber burns away. When the tires are essentially gone, the metal of the wheel rims and the axle itself will start scraping away at the runway, but by then, as the pilots press hard on both main brakes, the speed will be diminishing rapidly. As long as the fire department is nearby to guard against any sustained flame from the heated metal of the nose strut, there won't even be a need to do an emergency evacuation.

Maybe not all of us in commercial cockpits would have stopped the aircraft so perfectly with the stub of a nosewheel resting squarely on the runway centerline (a really great job), but most pilots would have followed the same script.

What you saw Wednesday is a living example of why commercial aviation is so incredibly safe: the presence of a robust safety buffer. Even when something goes very wrong, we can not only successfully compensate, but do it with practiced predictability.

Bravo to the crew of JetBlue 232, but bravo to the airline safety system as well.

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