A JetBlue A321 did a wheelie at the gate at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after being unloaded incorrectly.
On October 22, 2023, a 2015 built JetBlue Airbus A321-200 registered N959JB completed flight B6662 from Bridgetown, Barbados (BGI), and parked at gate 25 in Terminal 5. It is understood that the during the unloading phase, bags and cargo were removed from the front section of the aircraft first.
With the rear hold still full, the center of gravity shifted beyond its limits, resulting in the aircraft tipping on its tail. The aircraft which was supposed to continue on to Montego Bay, but was taken out of service for further inspection.
There were no reported injuries, and it was unclear at the time how extensive the damage is. From the video below, the entry door also appears to have gotten hooked in the jet bridge.
This incident highlights the importance of proper weight and balance distribution. It’s actually very rare to see CG related issues like this. The last time something like this happened was back in 2021 when a chartered United 737-900ER also tail tipped at Lewiston Airport (LWS) after bags were loaded from the front of the aircraft first.
The 737-900s are very prone to tail tipping and require extra precaution during the loading and unloading phases. In some circumstances, tail stands may be placed near the rear of the aircraft to prevent tipping depending on the loading scenario. ATR aircraft are also notorious for CG issues and come with built-in tail stands to prevent the aircraft from completely tipping backwards should it be loaded badly.
[Featured Photo: aviationbrk/Twitter]