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Plane returns to Dulles after tire blows

Updated, 9:35 p.m.
A jetliner headed from Dulles International Airport to Brussels returned safely to Dulles Saturday night after blowing one of its tires, authorities said. An airport spokesman said a missing section of runway pavement may have caused the tire damage.

United Airlines flight 950, a Boeing 767, landed at Dulles about 8:30 p.m, an airline spokeswoman said.

The plane took off around 6 p.m. but debris was discovered on the runway shortly afterward, and the airline was notified, said airport spokesman Rob Yingling. He said the section of missing pavement was spotted after the debris was found. The runway was closed while short-term repairs were made, Yingling said.

He said a "strong possibility" existed of a link between the blown tire and the pavement damage.
Authorities said the plane burned off or jettisoned fuel to reduce its weight before landing.
United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said it carried 176 passengers and 11 crew members.

--Martin Weil

Original post:
A Brussels-bound aircraft that had taken off from Dulles was forced to turn around after it may have blown a tire during takeoff, prompting the closure of a runway which was said to contain a pothole and rubber debris.

United Flight 950 is circling the airport in an attempt to burn off excess fuel in order to make it easier to land at Dulles, and it is possible it could dump some fuel, likely over the Atlantic Ocean, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown tells The Post's Martin Weil.

By Luke Rosiak  |  May 8, 2010; 7:06 PM ET
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Did it return because the repairs could only be made at Dulles? Seems silly to go to all that trouble to land at Dulles when the plane can fly with a wheel blown out and the landing carries the same risks as landing in Brussels.

Posted by: slydell | May 9, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Very gusty day (Saturday) at Dulles. [Did it use the northwest runway? Very unusual, if it did.]

Probably carrying a lot more fuel than usual for the transatlantic trip, because of the problems given the Iceland volcano.

Perhaps a weak tire, different runway, heavier than normal takeoff weight, bang!

So, all that fuel was dumped. Living just east of the airport, I'll be checking my car in the morning. I know...the dirt from the pollon has my car filthy anyway...but if it see any fuel stains...who do I send the car wash bill to?

Posted by: jaybru | May 9, 2010 4:23 AM | Report abuse

"Missing section of runway pavement?"....If this was the cause, doesn't someone take avisual check of the runway each morning????

If this was not the cause, why speculate??? Just report a blown tire and an investigation is ongoing.....

Posted by: pentagon40 | May 9, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Slydell: No, if the aircraft had a problem, you don't want to send it to a far off place that doesn't have your own maintenance facilities, or your own spares. If there was a more serious problem with the landing gear (and they really couldn't be sure until they tried to land), then the plane could have been stranded in Brussels. At least in Dulles, UA can just pull the plane to one of their hangars. In fact, they'll have to do that anyway: depite the fact that it successfully landed, they can't just take off again without a thorough inspection. Dulles is a good place to do that for UA.

Posted by: Chris737 | May 9, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

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