Faulty Flaps Has American Airlines A321 Return To Honolulu

An American Airlines Airbus encountered several problems on a climb out of Honolulu in mid-March. After experiencing mechanical issues on the initial climb, the A321 came close to another plane, then found its flaps wouldn’t retract. The pilots then decided to return to Honolulu.

An American Airlines A321-200 encountered problems after taking off from Honolulu in mid-March. Photo: Getty Images

The incident occurred on Friday, March 19. According to a report in The Aviation Herald, the Airbus A321-200 (registration N409AA) was climbing from Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and bound for Los Angeles. The aircraft was operating American Airlines flight AA284. That flight is American’s 13:05 departure from Honolulu.

According to flight tracking site RadarBox.com, N409AA left Honolulu on March 19 and quickly climbed to 3,675 feet. The Aviation Herald says the pilots reported an undisclosed mechanical problem. The plane’s altitude dropped to around 3,000 feet while it did a large figure-of-eight loop over the sea southwest of Honolulu.

While holding, the Airbus came into conflict with a private aircraft. The initial instruction from air traffic control was to fly parallel to the private plane. But the crew advised further mechanical issues and the American Airlines flight was directed away from the private plane, resolving any potential safety issues.

The pilots advised the flaps had not retracted and requested to land back at Honolulu. Less than 30 minutes after departure, the Airbus was safely back on the ground. There were 199 passengers and crew onboard the flight. No injuries were reported.

Source: RadarBox.com

Two further incidents involving American Airlines aircraft

The Airbus A321-200 is a recent addition to the American Airlines fleet, only arriving at the airline in October 2019. It is the first incident involving this plane.

Since March 19, there have been two further incidents involving American Airlines planes. The following day, March 20, an American Airlines A321-200 left Miami International Airport en route to Santiago in the Dominican Republic. Shortly after take-off, the pilots stopped the climb and reported a pressurization issue. They asked to return to Miami.

Earlier this week, an American Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX also left Miami bound for Santiago. The flight was near The Bahamas when the pilots reported a pitch trim failure and requested a return to Miami.

In a statement provided to The Aviation Herald, American Airlines later clarified a component of the main electric trim system became inoperative. The pilots manually trimmed the aircraft. The 737 MAX landed safely back in Miami. American Airlines stresses the incident was not related to MCAS.

American Airlines has had two minor incidents with their 737 MAXs this year. Photo: Vincenzo Pace / Simple Flying

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737 MAXs involved in two minor incidents at American Airlines since resuming flights

The 737 MAX resumed flying for American Airlines at the end of December after a prolonged grounding. A search of The Aviation Herald’s database reveals there have been two MAX-related incidents since American Airlines resumed flying the aircraft type.

The other incident occurred earlier in March when an American Airlines 737-8 MAX’s engine had to be shut down due to an indication of an oil leak. The aircraft had just taken off from Newark and was able to return, landing safely.

After the incident with the flaps at Honolulu, N409AA was back in the air the following day when it headed to Los Angeles. Since then it has crisscrossed the United States. Today, the plane is flying between California and Texas and California and Nevada.