Flight 2116 safely returned to Los Angeles International Airport after circling off the Southern California coast for about an hour to burn fuel. There were no reports of injuries among the 152 people on board.
Comments from the pilots to air traffic controllers indicated they were struggling to keep the aircraft flying on a straight line.
Within minutes of takeoff, the crew calmly declared an emergency and an unidentified person in the cockpit explained, “we got a yaw problem, and we’re having a little trouble controlling the airplane,” according to recordings between the pilots and air traffic controllers posted on the website LiveATC.net, a website that monitors and posts air traffic control audio recordings.
Yaw refers to the left-to-right movement of an aircraft’s nose.
The plane took off at 8:39 a.m. and the tracking website FlightAware showed it looping over the Pacific Ocean before returning. During that period, the crew told air traffic controllers they wanted time to speak with Delta officials.
Upon touching down shortly after 9:30 a.m., the plane rolled back to a terminal, followed across the airfield by emergency vehicles.
In an emailed statement, Delta called the problem “a potential systems issue” without elaborating. A spokesman, Morgan Durrant, said it was “too soon” to get into more detail and that the airline was focused on rebooking customers on other flights.
From The Associated Press