Stopping Short of Destination for Some Emergency Landings


When an aircraft blows a tire on takeoff, why doesn’t the plane continue on to its intended destination to make the emergency landing? At least the passengers would get to where they want to go. Instead, the plane dumps fuel (which it would naturally burn on its way to its original destination) and the passengers are delayed in getting to their destination.

I’m sure there is a good explanation for all this, I just have not been able to come up with it.

An example of this happened yesterday. A Southwest plane took off from Midway bound for Providence, but blew a tire upon takeoff. Thus, it made an emergency landing at Indy.

Any thoughts?


When a tire blows, it can’t be retracted due to the risk of damaging internal components of the gear bay, and possibly not being able to put them back down before landing.

With the gear stuck down, however, you can’t go very fast or high, so you are flying much more inefficiently and wouldn’t be able to reach your destination anyway.


When the crew knows that a tire has blown out, they are (by protocol) not supposed to retract the landing gear, as it could a) become stuck in the retracted position, or b)possibly damage other mechanisms within the bay that holds the gear. With landing gear down, you can’t cruise at altitude. Flying low and slow (especially with gear down) burns fuel more quickly, so there’s a good chance the a/c wouldn’t make it to its destination if it tried. Also, remember that many of these flights you hear about are flying FROM their respective hub airports, where mechanical ops are much better equipped to handle repairs, so many of them just circle until they’re light enough to land at the same airport they departed from. Their hub would also be more apt to have spare a/c available to make the replacement flight without completely interrupting scheduled service.

editNewark stole my thunder.


They need NASCAR type crews for that…see how fast they can change a tire, top off the tanks, and wipe the windshield without having to take passengers & baggage off the plane. Now THAT would be fun.


Isn’t there also the possibility of a fire from a blown tire?


I was thinking the same as Dami.


Can’t think of why but I guess it would depend on why the tire blew.
I am assuming the 73 has a spin down system whereby the brakes are automatically applied as the gear retracts to prevent the tire from spinning as it is retracted into the wells. Pretty common system on transport aircraft. If a brake pack were dragging during the taxi and takeoff then the brakes would be plenty hot but the fuse plugs should blow deflating the tire before it failed. At least that is the design idea. I agree that retracting a known blown tire is a bad idea.


Only reason I can think of for chance of fire is the possibility of debris from the blown tire busting a hydraulic line, maybe spraying some nice flamable fluid onto some hot component? Or if I recall, the Concordes demise came from a blown tire busting open a fuel tank?


They also prefer to land at an airport with the best facilities for an emergency landing. ie: longer runway, emergency services, company maintenance, best weather, etc…