Minutes After Takeoff, Flight Returns to New Orleans
United Airlines pilot reported smoke in cockpit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 4, 2011 11:41 AM CDT
A United Airlines plane sits on a runway after making an emergency landing shortly after takeoff at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, Monday, April 4, 2011 in Kenner, La.    (Mary Foster)
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(Newser) – And the airline mishaps continue—luckily, with more safe endings. United Airlines Flight 497 to San Francisco returned to New Orleans minutes after takeoff today after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit, the FAA said. As soon as the plane was on the ground, flight attendants shouted "Leave everything. Get out!" Passengers slid down the front and back slides. A few passengers walked to an ambulance after a call for anyone with injuries.

The injuries appeared to be minor, such as abrasions from the slide; all 100 passengers and five crew are safe. The plane's copilot told an AP reporter who was on the plane that he landed on backup systems, with minimal steering and braking ability, after the plane lost all electronics. "When things start to go wrong, there's always a system ... we can go back to," he said.