Jet Reports Problem, Returns to BWI

LINTHICUM, Md. -- A commercial passenger jet that had reported a possible nosegear problem touched down safely Friday at Baltimore's airport.

AirTran Airways Flight 149 returned to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport at about 12:07, then taxied to a gate, according to airport spokespeople.

AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson said the Boeing 737 took off from BWI at 11:08 a.m. with five crew members, and 133 passengers -- including two infants.

Hutcheson said the flight crew reported seeing an indicator that the nosegear did not retract after take off. The plane did a low fly-by of the airport tower and officials could see that the gear had retracted, Hutcheson said.

The captain did not declare an in-flight emergency but elected to return to BWI for maintenance. "He handled it by the book," Hutcheson said.

Fire and rescue teams responded to the airfield and waited for the jet to land while the jet circled to burn fuel.

Mechanics were inspecting the plane to determine if the indicator light was faulty or if they was, in fact, a nosegear issue. "The mechanics are trying to determine if they are going to fix that problem quickly or put (the passengers) on another airplane," Hutcheson said.

According to Hutcheson, the plane was making its first flight following a maintenance check Thursday night at BWI.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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