NTSB Sending Team to Investigate United Airlines Incident in New Orleans

Preliminary information indicates that, while climbing through 4,000 feet, the crew reportedly received automated warnings and detected smoke in the cockpit.


The National Transportation Safety Board has launched a team to investigate an incident involving a passenger jetliner in New Orleans.

On April 4, 2011, at about 7:25 a.m. CDT, an Airbus 320-232 (N409UA), serial number 462, with 109 passengers and crew aboard, operating as United Airlines flight 497, exited the left side of runway 19 at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). The aircraft had returned to the airport about 20 minutes after take-off due to electrical difficulties and smoke in the cockpit.

Preliminary information indicates that, while climbing through 4,000 feet, the crew reportedly received automated warnings and detected smoke in the cockpit. A loss of primary instrumentation was also reported during the event. The crew indicated that they initiated emergency procedures and turned back to the airport. Upon landing, the crew described a loss of anti-skid braking and nose-wheel steering and exited the runway approximately 2,000 feet from the approach threshold.

The passengers and crew exited the airplane via slides. It was reported that the right forward slide did not inflate. There were no reported injuries. Initial information is that the airplane had minor damage, but it will be examined by NTSB investigators after defueling and recovery.

The NTSB investigator-in-charge, Dan Bower, and NTSB technical experts in systems and survival factors are en route to the scene. Additional NTSB experts in the areas of operations, maintenance records, vehicle performance, and flight recorders will also assist. Parties to the investigation include the Federal Aviation Administration, United Airlines, the Air Line Pilots Association, the Association of Flight Attendants, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Bureau d'EnquĂȘtes et d'Analyses (BEA) of the Government of France has appointed an Accredited Representative who will also travel to the scene along with technical advisors from Airbus.

A preliminary report of the incident will be available on the Board's website within 10 business days.

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