A Southwest Boeing 737-700 loses a tire on takeoff

On Nov. 3, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 flying from Sacramento to Santa Ana was forced to divert to Los Angeles after the crew suspected a tire was “lost” during takeoff. The plane landed safely at LAX, although the cause of the tire loss is not yet clear.

Flight and incident details

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 Attached to the incident was registered N752SW on flight WN1563 on 3 November. Departing from Sacramento (SMF) at 11:38 local time, the plane was supposed to deliver passengers to Santa Ana (SNA). This service usually takes 65 to 70 minutes.


According to The Aviation Herald, the plane took off from Sacramento’s Runway 35R and climbed to FL350. Only closer to the destination of Santa Ana did the flight crew make a decision divert to Los Angeles International (LAX), told air traffic control that they suspected the tire had been lost.

Flight tracking map

Fortunately, the plane landed safely on Los Angeles’ runway 25L, and the FAA reported that the front left tire was missing. While the Aviation Herald says the damage was “unknown,” the FAA report notes that this tire “struck the fuselage and caused dents.” It is interesting to note that only the plane’s rudder is not mentioned in the reports reports that the tire has separated from the aircraft. Indeed, how it could have happened in the first place and what the landing felt like are the two big questions that remain unanswered.

The aircraft was taken out of service for the rest of the day to be repaired. The next day, at 12:40 local time, the plane took off again, carrying passengers from Los Angeles to Los Vegas.

36 miles apart

For those who know their airports in the Los Angeles area, they will know that Santa Ana John Wayne/Orange County Airport is only 36 miles (58 km) from Los Angeles International. So why did the Southwest plane choose to land at LAX instead?

Well, as we’ve noted in the past, SNA’s single runway is one of the shortest runways of any major airport in the country at just 5,700 feet (1,738 meters). The consequence of this reduced length is that pilots must minimize the glideslope for smoother landings and instead opt for harder landings to stay on the runway with sufficient braking distance.

Therefore, in connection with the November 3rd incident, it would have been safer for a plane with questionable wheels and landing gear to land on a longer runway. Indeed, Los Angeles International has multiple runways and is still Southwest’s main hub. Thus, passengers will not experience special inconvenience, and the risk is minimized.

Boeing 737-700 Southwest landing

About the plane crash

Boeing 737-700 registered N752SW he is now just over 23 years old and made his first flight on September 24, 1999. The plane has flown with Southwest since entering commercial service and had its wings installed in 2004.

This is the second reported incident involving N752SW, with the jet reportedly overrunning the runway in December 2018 at Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR).

What do you think about the November 3rd incident? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment!

Sources: Aviation Bulletin, Planespotters.net, FlightRadar24.com

  • Boeing 737-700 Southwest Airlines San Francisco

    Southwest Airlines

    IATA/ICAO code:

    Airline type:
    Budget carrier

    Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport Dallas Love Field Denver International Airport Harry Reid International Airport Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Houston Hobby Airport Los Angeles International Airport Midway International Airport Oakland International Airport Orlando, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

    Year of foundation:
    1967 year

    General Director:
    Robert Jordan

    United States

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