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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

NTSB Investigates United Incident

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the cause of an electrical failure April 4 aboard a United Airlines Airbus A320.

United Airlines (UA) flight 497, an Airbus A320-232 (N409UA), left Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) around 7:25 a.m. CDT and returned to MSY about 20 minutes later due to electrical difficulties and smoke in the cockpit, according to an NTSB advisory.

While the A320 climbed to 4,000 feet, the crew reportedly received automated warnings and detected smoke in the cockpit, according to preliminary information. A loss of primary instrumentation was also reported during the event. Emergency landing procedures were initiated by flight crew as the aircraft turned back to MSY.

The crew described a loss of anti-skid braking and nose-wheel steering exiting the runway approximately 2,000 feet from the approach threshold. Those onboard, 109 passengers and crewmembers, exited the aircraft using inflatable evacuation slides, NTSB said.

NTSB technical experts, FAA, United Airlines, the Airline Pilots Association, the Association of Flight Attendants, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters were involved in the investigation.

Airbus technical advisors and the French Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses also are taking part in the investigation, according to NTSB.

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