Wheel Falls Off Boeing Plane in Mid-Air

Another wheel from the landing gear of a United Airlines flight fell off on Monday, according to a spokesperson for the company. The flight landed safely at its destination, but this is the second time a Boeing plane has lost a wheel while in flight this year.

The Boeing 757-200 took off from Los Angeles around 7:15 a.m. PT and landed at Denver International Airport around 10:10 a.m. local time, according to Bloomberg News, which was the first to report the incident. It’s not immediately clear when the wheel fell off Monday but United told Gizmodo the wheel was found in Los Angeles without providing more details. A video posted to YouTube with chatter between pilots at LAX includes the alarming moment they realized a tire had come off a nearby plane.

“Allegiant 2388, that B75 that just took off, I believe United, its tire came off and came rolling past us like B7-B8,” one pilot can be heard saying.

“United Flight 1001 landed safely in Denver after losing one wheel on takeoff from Los Angeles International Airport. The wheel has been recovered in Los Angeles, and we are investigating what caused this event,” a United spokesperson told Gizmodo in an emailed statement.

United experienced a similar incident with a Boeing plane back in March when a Boeing 777-200 with 249 people on board took off from San Francisco and lost a wheel mere seconds after it was airborne. Video footage of that flight showed the wheel coming off during a flight that was originally supposed to travel to Osaka, Japan. That flight was diverted to Los Angeles and sparked a safety review of the airline by the FAA.

 

Boeing has experienced several scandals in recent years, starting with deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 189 people in Indonesia and 157 in Ethiopia. Investigations into those two flights revealed insiders were cutting corners and misleading investigators about the safety of their new Max planes, which sometimes tended to plunge downward in a way that pilots didn’t know how to safely correct. News broke Sunday that Boeing will plead guilty to criminal fraud charges related to that case, but nobody will face jail time in a decision that’s angered family members of the victims on those flights.

More recently, a door plug fell out of an Alaska Airlines plane while it was mid-air back in January and the Boeing name has been transformed from a symbol of quality to a punchline on late-night comedy shows. And with today’s wheel-dropping incident at LAX, that reputation is going to get a whole lot worse.

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