NTSB: Parking brake error behind JetBlue tyre fire, evacuation

Washington DC
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The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says pilots of a JetBlue Airbus A320 that experienced landing difficulties at the Sacramento International airport on 26 August had mistakenly engaged the aircraft's parking brake during the approach.

Upon touchdown after an otherwise normal arrival, the first officer, who was flying, experienced a "rapid deceleration" which he described to the captain as feeling like a main landing gear tire blow out. Flight 262, inbound from Long Beach, was carrying 86 passengers and five crew members.

The captain took control after the initial touchdown, maintaining directional control and stopping the aircraft about 610m (2,000ft) from the touchdown point.

During the landing roll, air traffic controllers observed "sparks and smoke" in the area of the main landing gear, conditions that continued after the aircraft stopped, says the NTSB in its preliminary report on the incident.

In response to fire concerns, the captain called for an evacuation on the runway through the emergency slides in three doors. Seven passengers received minor injuries during the evacuation.

Aircraft damage was minor, consisting of four deflated main gear tyres and ground-down wheel rims, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

A post-incident analysis of N590JB's flight data recorder revealed that the parking brake had been set during the approach phase at approximately 5,100ft altitude and remained engaged during the landing.

"During interviews with the flight crew, neither pilot recalled any abnormal indications or warnings associated with the braking system prior to landing," says the NTSB.