United Flight 497 Shudders, Smoke Fills Cockpit – All Electronics Gone: United Makes New Orleans Emergency Landing

A United Air Lines flight left New Orleans with 115 people aboard and immediately turned back to the airport. Within minutes the cockpit reported smoke and the passengers said the craft was shuddering. The landing was rocky. The cockpit had no electronics, and landed using a backup system. The flight left the runway on touchdown, stopping some 2,000 feet beyond the pavement with a blown tire. Everyone made it safely off the Airbus A-320. See a video below of an Airbus computer landing

United Flt. 497

On landing passengers were told to leave everything and “get out,” which they did, using emergency chutes.


Passengers reported an unusual amount of turbulence that never subsided.

“It didn’t feel right. The plane was waving about in the wind,” said passenger Peter Maroni, 23, of Queensland, Australia, who was sitting near the rear of the plane.

As the aircraft moved over Lake Pontchartrain, Maroni noticed the plane was no longer ascending. He could feel the engines pulling, but the plane seemed to go no higher. Maroni said the plane turned and began to descend.

A few injuries termed  “minor,” were reported.

Lew Waters at right in a Left World left a link to the video below, showing an Airbus landing, controlled by a computer (sans pilot).

Photo Credit: Ted Jackson, The Times-Picayune

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzD4tIvPHwE’]
Auto-pilot Airbus Landing (video)


  • Passengers should count themselves lucky. The same aircraft can be seen in the video below with their “automated controls.”

    • Lew, that is terrifying! I’ll add it to the post.

      I just did an update story on an Air France Air Bus A330-203 lost over the Atlantic Ocean in June 2009. The wreckage has just been found. The official story is that it was weather related but other flights took off from Rio, bound for Paris as was the downed flight, at about the same times, and following much the same routes, and none reported weather problems and all arrived on time. Of course, the French Secret Service reported there were two Muslims linked to Islamic terrorism on the passenger list. There’s not a word to be found about that today. Wish I had Lexis Nexis.

      I don’t think I would want to fly an Airbus, but then I don’t want to fly anything.

  • Oh my gosh! That is some scary stuff, and just the day after another plane had a big chunk of it’s roof bow off in midair too. Glad I don’t fly.

  • I’d prefer to drive than fly for so many reasons.. this is just one more..