Belly landing: A Boeing 767 from Newark, N.J., made an emergency landing in Warsaw Tuesday. Why are belly landings so common?
The Polish airline flight, carrying 231 people, made a belly landing when the landing gear failed to deploy. No one was injured.
While belly landings are not uncommon, it's relatively rare to capture such an event on video.
The LOT airways pilots discovered a problem with the Boeing chassis prior to landing and circled the airport for about an hour before landing, Przemyslaw Przybylski, a spokesman for the Warsaw airport, told the Associated Press.
A fire brigade laid out special material with fire-fighting substances for the plane to land on. After landing, small fires erupted under the plane but were immediately put out by firefighters.
Wheels-up, or gear-up belly landings are the most common type of aviation accident. Most pilots are familiar with the adage: "There are two types of pilots: The kind who have had gear-up landings and those that will."
Aviation safety experts say that most belly landings occur because pilots forget to lower the landing gear. To prevent such forgetfulness, pilots are required to use checklists prior to landing. But some pilots simply skip them and go by memory, or they're interrupted during the checklist and skip over the step. Most aircraft have warning lights and horns to alert pilots when they slow to landing speed without landing gear down. Most commercial passenger jets have an audiible voice "Gear not down" warning.
In the case of the Polish LOT flight on Nov. 1, there was a mechanical malfunction that prevented the landing gear from being lowered. Most aircraft have back up systems, including the ability to manually lower the landing gear. But if there's a malfunction on just one of the landing gear, sometimes pilots choose to keep all the gear up, preferring a more "balanced" landing on no gear, to a "lopsided" landing on one landing gear.