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CAMP UDAIRI, Kuwait — For the second time, a charter flight carrying 1st Infantry Division troops suffered a malfunction on takeoff, prompting an unscheduled landing, a division spokesman said.

Shortly after sunrise on Feb. 10, an indicator light on the American Trans Air Boeing 757 showed the aircraft had lost its hydraulics right after takeoff from the Nuremburg, Germany, airport, passengers on the flight said.

“You knew something was wrong, because we weren’t gaining altitude,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jon King, a 1st ID re-enlistment counselor.

The jet, carrying more than 150 soldiers from the Kitzingen-based 4th Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery, flew about 200 miles northeast to Frankfurt for repairs. As a precaution, King said, the pilot told the passengers they would fly at low altitude with wheels down.

That made for a bumpy ride. Flight attendants served drinks, but no meal.

“It was just rough,” King said. “We had to keep our seat belts on.”

Then the plane flew in a pattern around Frankfurt to burn up fuel before landing about an hour later at Rhein-Main Air Base, said Maj. Sean Herron, the division’s transportation officer. It landed safely and, after repairing what the pilot told passengers was a faulty warning light, the flight continued to Kuwait.

“They said they were never in any real danger,” King said. “But it was a real spooky ride.”

On Feb. 6 a chartered World Airways flight loaded with 278 1st ID soldiers took off from Nuremburg for Kuwait but also had to make an emergency landing. As the plane took off, one of its engines burst into flames and was quickly shut down. The plane landed safely without further incident.


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