On 22nd October, 2023 a JetBlue Airbus A321 tipped backward onto its tail after arriving at New York JFK Airport.
The Airbus A321 with registration N959JB had just arrived from Bridgetown, Barbados operating flight B6662. However, while it was parked at the gate at JFK with the jetbridge attached to the front left-hand door, the aircraft tipped backward on its tail.
Footage shared on the internet shows the aircraft resting on its tail at around a 30-degree angle with its front landing gear in the air.
“On Sunday, October 22, JetBlue flight 662 landed as scheduled at New York’s JFK Airport from Bridgetown, Barbados. Once at the gate, due to a shift in weight and balance during deplaning, the tail of the aircraft tipped backward causing the nose of the aircraft to lift up and eventually return back down.”JetBlue spokesperson
According to local reports, the front cargo hold door was seen open, which reportedly suggests that the ground crew removed freight from the front of the aircraft while there were lots of passengers still on board at the back of the aircraft.
As a result, the center of gravity (CG) probably shifted to the back of the aircraft resulting in the tail tip. Thankfully, no one was injured in the incident.
Usually, the cockpit crew members are alerted by an onboard monitoring system that the CG of the aircraft is at risk of shifting too far and will instruct passengers to remain seated until enough cargo has been removed from the belly hold, according to PYOK.
At nearly 45 meters long, being the longest model in the Airbus A320 family, it might cause the aircraft to tip backward like this incident, if the weight and balance rules aren’t properly balanced by the flight crew and ground staff.
JetBlue has been inspecting the incident and in its statement, the airline stated that “Safety is JetBlue’s first priority; we are reviewing this incident, and the aircraft has been taken out of service for inspection.”