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Published on Aug 6, 2018
On August 4, 2016 at 9:02pm eastern daylight time, Southwest Airlines flight 149, a Boeing 737, N368SW, experienced a failure of its nose landing gear during pushback from the gate at the Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI), Baltimore, Maryland. The aircraft was substantially damaged and there were no injuries to the 6 crewmembers or 129 passengers aboard. The flight was being operated under 14 Code of Federal Regulation Part 121 as a regularly scheduled passenger flight to Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson International Airport (ATL), Atlanta, Georgia.
According to the flight crew, as the pushback tug was maneuvering the aircraft off the gate, the flight crew felt the front of the airplane bounce up and down, and then came to rest on the nose. The passengers were deplaned via air stairs.
The nose gear collapsed in a forward direction, resulting in substantial damage to the gear structure, the nose gear well, and crushing the forward bulkhead. Analysis of this video revealed that the tug was pushing the aircraft at approximately 6 knots. The tug specifications indicate that a speed of 6 knots should only be achieved in second gear or higher. The airline general operating manual specifies that pushback must be conducted in low or first gear, and at a walking speed. Or else this.
[Crappy surveillance video, I know. Believe it or not, this is much better than it was originally.]