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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 190959
Last updated: 25 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B737 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-7L9 (WL)
Owner/operator:Eastern Airlines
Registration: N278EA
MSN: 28006/26
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 39
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location:New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA/KLGA) -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Fort Dodge Regional Airport, IA (FOD)
Destination airport:New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA/KLGA)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The Boeing 737-700 was operated on behalf of U.S. Vice-Presidential candidate Mike Pence on a flight from Ford Dodge, Iowa, to New York-La Guardia Airport.
Automatic terminal information service (ATIS) "Bravo" was current when the first officer, who was the pilot flying, began to brief the instrument landing system approach for runway 22 at New York-La Guardia Airport. The ATIS indicated visibility 3 miles in rain, ceiling 1,500 ft broken, overcast at 2,200 ft, wind from 130 at 9 knots, and that braking action advisories were in effect. The approach briefing included the decision altitude and visibility for the approach and manual deployment of the speed brakes by the captain, with the captain stating "you're gonna do these. I'm gonna do this" to which the first officer replied "[that] is correct." (The airplane's automatic speed brake module had been deactivated 2 days before the incident and deferred in accordance with the operator's minimum equipment list, which was appropriate).

The flight crew completed the approach briefing after descending through 18,000 ft mean sea level and completed the landing checklist when the airplane was near the final approach fix. The airplane was configured for landing with the autobrake set to 3 and the flaps set to 30. ATIS information "Charlie" was current at that time and indicated visibility 3 miles in rain, ceiling 900 ft broken, overcast at 1,500 ft, and wind from 120 at 9 knots.

Flight data recorder (FDR) data and postincident flight crew statements indicate that the airplane was stabilized on the approach in accordance with the operator's procedures until the flare. The airplane crossed the runway threshold at 66 ft radio altitude at a descent rate of 750 ft per minute. When the airplane had traveled about 2,500 ft beyond the runway threshold, its descent rate decreased to near zero, and it floated during the flare. Its pitch attitude started to increase in the flare from 2.8 at a radio altitude of about 38 ft, which is high compared to the 20 ft recommended by the Boeing 737 Flight Crew Training Manual. Further, the first officer didn't fully reduce the throttles to idle until about 16 seconds after the flare was initiated and after the airplane had touched down. The initiation of the flare at a relatively high altitude above the runway and the significant delay in the reduction of thrust resulted in the airplane floating down the runway, prompting the captain to tell the first officer to get the airplane on the ground, stating "down down down down you're three thousand feet remaining."

The airplane eventually touched down 4,242 ft beyond the runway threshold. According to the operator's procedures, the touchdown zone for runway 22 was the first third of the 7,001-ft-long runway beginning at the threshold, or 2,334 ft. Touchdown zone markers and lights (the latter of which extended to 3,000 ft beyond the threshold) should have provided the flight crew a visual indication of the airplane's distance beyond the threshold and prompted either pilot to call for a go-around but neither did. The point at which the airplane touched down left only about 2,759 ft remaining runway to stop. The airplane's groundspeed at touchdown was 130 knots.

The captain manually deployed the speed brakes about 4.5 seconds after touchdown and after the airplane had traveled about 1,250 ft down the runway. Maximum reverse thrust was commanded about 3.5 seconds after the speed brakes were deployed, and, with fully extended speed brakes and maximum wheel brakes (which were applied at main gear touchdown) the airplane achieved increasingly effective deceleration. Its groundspeed was about 35 knots when it entered the EMAS. With the effective deceleration provided by the fully extended speed brakes, maximum wheel brakes, and reverse thrust, the flight crew would have been able to safely stop the airplane if it had touched down within the touchdown zone.

The captain later stated that he had considered calling for a go-around before touchdown but the "moment had slipped past and it was too late." He said that "there was little time to verbalize it" and that he instructed the first officer to get the airplane on the ground rather than call for a go-around. He reported that, in hindsight, he should have called for a go-around the moment that he recognized the airplane was floating in the flare. The first officer said that he did not consider a go-around because he did not think that the situation was abnormal at that time.

Training and practice improve human performance and response time when completing complex tasks. In this case, the operator's go-around training did not include any scenarios that addressed performing go-arounds in which pilots must decide to perform the maneuver rather than being instructed or prompted to do so. Thus, the incident flight crew lacked the training and practice making go-around decisions, which contributed to the captain's and first officer's failure to call for a go-around.

Following the incident, the operator incorporated go-around training scenarios in which flight crews must decide to go around rather than being instructed to do so. The company's director of operations also stated that the company has incorporated scenarios in which go-arounds are initiated from idle power and rejected landings are performed after touchdown with the automatic speed brake inoperative. It also added a training module emphasizing that "if touchdown is predicted to be outside of the [touchdown zone], go around" and intended to require a go-around if landing outside of the touchdown zone were predicted. The operator also intended to incorporate go-around planning into the approach briefing. Flight crews would determine the cues for the touchdown zone using the airport diagram and decide at which point they would initiate a go-around if the airplane had not touched down.

Given the known wet runway conditions and airplane manufacturer and operator guidance concerning "immediate" manual deployment of the speed brakes upon landing, the captain's manual deployment of the speed brakes was not timely. NTSB analysis of FDR data for previous landings in the incident airplane determined an average of 0.5 second for manual deployment of the speed brakes. Using the same touchdown point as in the incident, postincident simulations suggest that, if the speed brakes had been deployed 1 second after touchdown followed by maximum reverse thrust commanded within 2 seconds, the airplane would have remained on the runway surface. Therefore, the captain's delay in manually deploying the speed brake contributed to the airplane's runway departure into the EMAS.

During the landing roll, the captain did not announce that he was assuming airplane control, contrary to the operator's procedures, and commanded directional control inputs that countered those commanded by the first officer. The captain later reported that he had forgotten that an EMAS was installed at the end of runway 22 and attempted to avoid the road beyond the runway's end by applying right rudder because he thought it would be better to veer to the right. However, the first officer applied left rudder to maintain alignment with the runway centerline and to counter the airplane pulling "really hard" to the right because of the captain's inputs. The breakdown of crew resource management during the landing roll and the captain's failure to call for a go-around demonstrated his lack of command authority, which contributed to the incident.

At the time of the incident, EMAS training was not part of the operator's pilot training program, but such training was added after the incident. The circumstances of this event suggest that the safety benefit of EMASs could be undermined if flight crews are not aware of their presence or purpose.

PROBABLE CAUSE: The first officer's failure to attain the proper touchdown point and the flight crew's failure to call for a go-around, which resulted in the airplane landing more than halfway down the runway. Contributing to the incident were, the first officer's initiation of the landing flare at a relatively high altitude and his delay in reducing the throttles to idle, the captain's delay in manually deploying the speed brakes after touchdown, the captain's lack of command authority, and a lack of robust training provided by the operator to support the flight crew's decision-making concerning when to call for a go-around.



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


The incident aircraft after having been towed to the platform (NTSB).

Revision history:

28-Oct-2016 06:55 dfix1 Added
28-Oct-2016 07:08 harro Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
30-Oct-2016 07:30 Anon. Updated [Total occupants]
22-Sep-2017 18:08 harro Updated [Source, Narrative]
22-Sep-2017 18:11 harro Updated [Photo, ]
22-Sep-2017 18:45 harro Updated [Source]
22-Sep-2017 18:47 harro Updated [Narrative]

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