On June 28, 2023 at approximately 0858 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), Delta Air Lines Flight 1092 faced a situation when its Boeing 717-200 encountered issues with its nose landing gear during the approach to Charlotte Douglass International Airport (CLT) in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The National Transportation Safety Board has now released its preliminary report into the landing accident, which saw the aircraft carry out a precautionary landing with nose gear retracted.
All 104 passengers and crew on board were subsequently evacuated safely without any injuries. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of the report, exploring the event and the subsequent investigation findings.
Delta flight DL1092 Atlanta – Charlotte
Delta Air Lines Flight DL1092 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight operating under the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121. It was en route from Atlanta, Georgia, to Charlotte Douglass International Airport (CLT).
As the flight descended to an altitude of approximately 2,000 feet above ground level (AGL) on the approach, the first officer (FO) placed the landing gear handle in the ‘Down’ position, only to find the nose wheel unsafe condition light illuminated.
This situation was also confirmed on the electronic instrument system (EIS) configuration page.
Troubleshooting in the Air
Responding to the nose gear unsafe indication, the flight crew initiated a go-around to permit them time to address the problem and complete the necessary troubleshooting checklists.
Subsequent attempts to manually extend the landing gear proved unsuccessful. Delta Air Lines’ Atlanta flight control was then notified via the Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS).
Simultaneously, an emergency was declared with air traffic control (ATC), and the flight continued on its inbound track, following the RWY36L ILS approach.
As the aircraft descended to 300 feet AGL, ATC relayed the observation that the nose wheel had failed to extend. This prompted a second go-around.
In a further bid to resolve the issue, multiple attempts were made to lower the nose gear, both through normal procedures and manual gear extension.
Unfortunately, all efforts were in vain, and the flight crew had to make a crucial decision – proceed with the landing.
Landing and Evacuation
The flight crew brought the airplane down to a touchdown on the runway approximately 1,400 feet from the threshold. The critical moment came when the nose of the aircraft was gently lowered onto the runway at an approximate speed of 80 knots.
This resulted in the airplane coming safely to a halt just before taxiway W7.
Following the landing, Charlotte Douglass International Airport’s aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) team sprayed the nose wheel area with water to ensure there was no risk of fire.
The flight crew followed shutdown and evacuation checklists, and passengers were evacuated through the two forward entry doors, utilizing emergency slides.
Investigating the Cause
A detailed examination of the aircraft’s nose landing gear system on the Delta flight in Charlotte revealed a fractured upper lock link. This fracture had significant consequences as it allowed the lower lock link to swing down to a vertical position, obstructing the nose landing gear’s movement.
To determine the root cause of this fracture and gain further insights, the fractured lock link was sent to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) materials laboratory for a comprehensive examination.
Additionally, the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) were dispatched to the NTSB recorders laboratory for data download.
The maintenance records of the aircraft have also been quarantined and will undergo a thorough review.
This is the preliminary report by the NTSB. A post-accident examination of the nose landing gear system revealed a mechanical issue – a fractured upper lock link.
Due to the fractured upper lock link, the lower lock link was free to swing down to a vertical position; making contact with the nose landing gear assembly and thereby restricting its movement.
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