A United Airlines chartered jet flying Marines to Kuwait twice was forced to return to base and make an emergency landing after a refueling stop because of technical difficulties, officials said Friday.
The pilot of the Boeing 747-400, carrying about 250 Marines from Riverside, returned safely to the U.S. military's Rhein-Main air base Thursday when two tires blew out during takeoff, base spokesman Staff Sgt. Matthew Summers said.
The aircraft departed again Friday morning, only to have the nose landing gear fail to properly retract. The pilot again returned safely to base.
United Airlines spokesman Werner Claasen said the incidents were nothing more than technical problems.
"That's what you face when you run a fleet of 500 aircraft," Claasen said.