Unretracted Gear on Reagan Jet Stirs Alarm

From Times Wire Services

An unretracted nose wheel on President Reagan's plane, Air Force One, caused a flurry of alarm today.

Secret Service agents, watching the Boeing 707 take off from Los Angeles International Airport to take the President home to Washington after a congressional elections campaign swing, noticed that the nose gear was not retracted as quickly as usual.

They reinstituted a security cordon around the airport in case there was a fault and the plane might be turning back. Reporters rushed for telephones.

But White House spokesman Mark Weinberg said that on takeoff, Air Force One displayed a warning light in the cockpit that indicated one of the landing gear brakes was hot.

He said that to cope with the problem, the plane's pilot left the landing gear in the plane's nose down in flight briefly to cool it off. It was retracted after a few minutes, Weinberg said.

"There's no problem, and Air Force One is on its way back to Washington," he added.

In another version of the incident, presidential spokesman Larry Speakes said Col. Robert Ruddick, pilot of Air Force One, left the gear down for a short time after takeoff as part of what he called "a standard procedure to cool the brakes down."

"Ruddick says there is nothing wrong with the aircraft," Speakes said.

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