WI - Troubled plane makes safe landing

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Thu 15-Feb-2001

WI - Troubled plane makes safe landing Stuck throttle forces Midwest Express DC-9 to make unexpected stop at Appleton's airport By Steve Wideman Post-Crescent staff writer

A Midwest Express DC-9 with 16 people aboard made a safe emergency landing Wednesday at the Outagamie County Regional Airport after encountering engine trouble near Milwaukee. Midwest Express spokesman Lisa Bailey said Flight 44, carrying 11 passengers and a five-member crew, was flying from Boston to Kansas City when it encountered strong headwinds. "Because of the very strong headwinds they didn't have enough fuel to reach Kansas City, so a decision was made to refuel the plane in Milwaukee," Bailey said. As the plane approached Mitchell International Airport, the pilots discovered the throttle on the plane's left jet engine was struck in the cruise position, Bailey said. "They did have a problem in that they were unable to throttle down" to land, Bailey said.

The plane, which carried more than 11,000 pounds of jet fuel, was diverted to Appleton because a daylong snowfall left the runways at Mitchell snow-covered, wet and potentially hazardous. "They wanted to land on a dry runway where it wasn't snowing," said Outagamie airport director Jeff Mulder. The Greenville and Grand Chute fire departments were put on standby to assist airport firefighters as the plane approached about 1:15 p.m. Mulder said the pilots had planned to shut down the defective engine before landing, but changed their minds. "They decided to keep the engine operating and shut it down as they touched down," Mulder said. Bailey said Midwest maintenance crews determined while the plane was still in flight that a throttle cable might have gotten wet and froze. She said that as the plane descended below 10,000 feet on its approach to Appleton, the cable apparently thawed, became free and allowed the pilots to regain control of the throttle. As emergency personnel stood by, the plane landed without incident about 1:30 p.m. and was taken for repairs to the Midwest Express maintenance facility at the Outagamie airport. A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration Flight Service Station at Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport said the diversion and landing preparations were "routine precautionary procedures."


-- Doris (nocents@bellsouth.net), February 16, 2001

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