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Two American Airlines' planes made emergency landings in a matter of hours at Charlotte Douglas

It comes after a Defenders investigation looked into airport records for emergency landings.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Editor's Note: During our coverage of an emergency landing at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Monday, we inadvertently misidentified the aircraft involved in the incident. In our reporting, we showed video of a Boeing 737 on the tarmac, but it was an Airbus A321 that made the emergency landing shortly after departing for Philadelphia. In addition, our report suggested the plane involved in the landing had visible damage to the right side of the aircraft. Although American Airlines confirms an emergency landing took place, a company spokesman says the plane suffered no visible damage. We regret the errors.

There were two emergency landings in about three hours at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Monday.

WCNC Charlotte first reported about an American Airlines flight from Charlotte to Philadelphia that was forced to return because of a mechanical issue. Now, the WCNC Charlotte Defenders team has learned about another emergency landing.

The second incident involved a PSA Airlines airplane, which is a subsidiary of American Airlines. The flight was heading to Williamsburg International Airport in Virginia, but it was forced to circle back and land in Charlotte.

The Defenders team learned the American Airlines flight had an emergency landing because of an engine compressor stall, according to the airline. It was the second emergency landing that day for American Airlines.

RELATED: Plane makes emergency landing at Charlotte-Douglas

A day later, American Airlines said an engine compressor stall led to the emergency landing with 183 passengers and seven crew members.  

One passenger’s mother tweeted, “Pilot just made an announcement to everyone in the gate area that he’d never had that happen to him before . Had only ever experienced it in a simulator”

American Airlines flight 1115 landed safely at 3:45 p.m. on Monday, but in less than three hours, another plane declared an emergency landing.  PSA flight 5594 with 64 passengers and four crew members landed at 6:50 p.m. on Monday.  

American Airlines, which owns PSA, says the emergency landing was caused by a nose gear door caution message.

It comes after a Defenders investigation looked into airport records for emergency landings.  

According to data from 2017, WCNC Charlotte found PSA Airlines had at least 48 emergency landings compared to 43 emergency landings for American Airlines, even though American had about 12,000 more arrivals at the airport.

In the initial investigation, WCNC Charlotte brought the findings to Dr. Jerre Hill, a pilot and UNC Charlotte professor of mechanical engineering.

RELATED: Mid-air scare: Which airline has the highest rate of emergency landings at Charlotte Douglas?

“I was a little surprised to hear the sheer numbers,” Dr. Hill previously said.

Dr. Hill says despite the number of emergency landings, pilot training and airplane engineering is better than ever.

“Airplanes these days are way more dependable, free from defects and engine problems,” Dr. Hill said.

Thankfully, both planes involved in emergency landings on Monday landed safely. The passengers on the flight to Philadelphia boarded another plane and that took off at 6:18 p.m. on Monday.

PSA Airlines provided the following statement in response to the WCNC Charlotte story:

“PSA Airlines has an unwavering commitment to safety, which is at the forefront of every decision we make. Running a safe and reliable operation is the key to our success, and we are proud to have safely transported more than 15.7 million customers on more than 287,000 PSA flights in 2019. In Charlotte, PSA has one of the largest regional operations held by a single operator at any airport in the country. The majority of our emergency declarations in CLT are not a safety of flight issue and when these events arise, we follow standard FAA protocol and our pilots are trained to create the largest margin of safety. That may result in either the FAA or the crew declaring an emergency in order to acquire expedited handing and/or landing on the longest runway available.”


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