Obama’s trip to Charlotte postponed

The trip I mentioned in this post that Obama was supposed to make to Charlotte today has been postponed due to mechanical problems with the plane he was flying on to get here:

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s scheduled visit to Charlotte for a campaign stop this afternoon was postponed after the plane carrying the Democratic Party presidential candidate experienced mechanical problems.

Instead, the Illinois Senator and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee spoke by telephone to a crowd gathered at James Martin Middle School in Charlotte’s University City area. No new date has been announced for an Obama visit to Charlotte.


The plane experienced a problem keeping control over the angle of the nose of the craft. That problem developed as the plane was taking off from Chicago, the pilot said. The plane landed shortly before 11 a.m. in St. Louis, where mechanics tried to diagnose the problem. The crowd in Charlotte waited for about two hours, before Obama campaign officials decided to postpone the trip.


Laura Brown, a spokeswoman for the FAA, said the plane’s pilot did not declare an emergency but “requested a diversion for mechanical issues they called a flight control problem.”

The AP said passengers on the flight felt the plane dip briefly, causing a stomach-rolling sensation like a roller-coaster. About an hour after taking off, the AP said, reporters among the 44 passengers aboard the plane were made aware of the problem. A flight attendant told reporters that the plane was being diverted from Charlotte.

The pilot later told passengers, “We detected a little bit of controllability issue, in terms of our ability to control the aircraft in the pitch, which is the nose-up and nose-down mode. The autopilot and the aircraft are just fine. As we descended, whatever was inhibiting our ability now has been rectified. However, just for safety purposes, we are going to be stopping in St. Louis and making sure that there’s nothing binding out controls.”

An investigation is already underway:

The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday that it is investigating what caused Senator Barack Obama’s plane to make an unexpected landing today in St. Louis.

The presumptive Democratic nominee for president was traveling from Chicago to Charlotte when the pilot’s first officer announced that they were experiencing controllability issues with the pitch of the MD-80 series aircraft.

Those on board were told the issue was a “minor little problem,” and the plane remains in St. Louis this afternoon for maintenance. In statements today, the NTSB called the incident “an uneventful precautionary landing” and Midwest Airlines, the carrier that runs the charter plane, said “there was never an issue as to the safety of the flight.”

The carrier said an emergency slide in the tail cone of the plane had inadvertently deployed in flight. The Federal Aviation Administration said today that a slide deploying in flight does indeed happen from time to time, and could cause flight control problems.

Indeed, on Monday NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker called this a “serious incident.”

“It is extremely serious in this particular case,” Rosenker said. “There are hydraulic lines back there. There are control cables that deal with the elevators and other areas of control surfaces for the aircraft, and could potentially make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to fly the aircraft.”

I have to wonder if they’re investigating the problem because it’s routine or because Barack Obama was on the plane.   As a result of the announcement that there will be an investigation,  I gotta wonder when the conspiracy theories from some of The Usual Suspectsâ„¢ will start rearing their ugly heads.   The far left already thinks the airplane deaths of Democrat Senators Mel Carnahan (MO) and Paul Wellstone (MN) were underground GOP plots designed to enable them to keep control of the Senate. 

In any event, I’m glad the plane landed safely and that no one was hurt.

Related:  Jim Webb announces that “[u]nder no circumstances will I be a candidate for Vice President.” Memeorandum has more links on this news. 

My personal opinion is I don’t think Webb was under serious consideration for the VP nod in the first place – Obama’s having to battle the experience argument as it is, and Webb being a first term Senator (even though he has served in various positions in other admins) won’t help counter the argument.

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