Landing With a Blown-Out Tire: Reader Q&A

Aug 21, 2018

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Much of the internet was abuzz Tuesday afternoon, as a Gulfstream IV spent hours circling above the Northeastern United States, after blowing two tires upon takeoff from Teterboro, NJ (TEB). Less notable under ordinary circumstances, the episode made international headlines primarily due to one of its passengers, rapper Post Malone, who was making his way from the New York City area to London Luton (LTN).

As the plane was circling to dump fuel, thereby significantly trimming its weight before landing, I took to TPG’s Instagram account to answer reader questions in the Stories. Given that there were a handful of interesting queries, I wanted to share them with you here as well, along with my responses below.

TPG Reader: Will they land with the gear extended or retracted?

Zach Honig: They’ll land with the gear extended. Some tires are still a-okay, though it’s possible others could blow upon touchdown, since weight will be less distributed.

Reader: No fuel dumping on the Gulfstream?

ZH: No, I don’t believe any Gulfstreams support fuel dumping, so they need to fly in circles until it’s light enough to land.

Reader: What are the effects for the airspace the GIV is flying in?

ZH: Minimal! It’s a quieter area, plus controllers will choose an altitude with less traffic. Shouldn’t be any more disruptive than circling due to weather, etc.

Reader: Will they survive?

ZH: Pilots are trained to deal with situations just like this. Hopefully they won’t be walking away with anything more than an interesting story.

Reader: Is the aircraft going to be able to land without significant damage?

ZH: It won’t be flying to London tonight, that’s for sure.

Reader: Why not just keep flying to London if they have to burn so much fuel?

ZH: A few reasons, but primarily if another issue develops en-route the aircraft could end up having even more limited options to land/divert.

Reader: In a situation like this one, how do passengers get compensated?

ZH: This is a private jet, but if it’s a charter I imagine they’d be accommodated on another aircraft at the operator’s expense.

Fortunately, the aircraft landed without incident at New York’s Stewart Airport (SWF), and as aviation expert and pilot Patrick Smith told TPG, the dangers for such a landing are minimal. “The trick is to land at the slowest speed as possible and hold off pressure,” Smith said. ” You also want to touch down slowly for obvious reasons.” He added that blown-out tires are “way, way down on the list of hazards” for modern aircraft.

Be sure to follow TPG on Instagram (and my own account) for future live Q&A sessions and a whole lot more.

Featured image by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy

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