NTSB Cites Pilot Actions in October Runway Accident Involving Pence Plane

22 ноября 2016, 21:33
Oleh Yemeliukov

A jet carrying then-Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence landed unusually far down a wet New York City runway and its pilots waited seven seconds to reverse thrust before veering off the strip last month, according to federal investigators.

The latest update on the incident, released Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board, said the cockpit crew told investigators the chartered Boeing Co. 737 "floated" above the La Guardia Airport runway during the final landing maneuver, when the nose of the plane was raised.

The main landing gear contacted the ground "about 3,000 feet beyond the runway threshold," according to what pilots told investigators, or nearly halfway down the roughly 7,000-foot strip.

Pilots of big jets such as the Boeing 737 are trained to typically touch down within the first 1,000 feet of any runway, especially when it is wet or snowy or otherwise slippery due to stormy weather or surface contamination.

All of the 48 people on board escaped injuries, but traffic at the busy airport was disrupted for hours.

The safety board hasn't formally determined the probable cause, and it will release detailed information at a later date.

But the initial findings, spelled out in seven brief paragraphs, strongly suggest the event, called a runway excursion, wasn't the result of some previously undisclosed mechanical problem.

The safety board said the flight crew "did not report any mechanical irregularities or abnormal braking action, which was corroborated" by information downloaded from the flight-data recorder.

The NTSB also said that as part of the probe, investigators interviewed pilots of four other planes that landed just before the incident. None of those flight crews "reported any problems with braking action on the wet runway," according to Tuesday's statement.

Investigators previously said preliminary data showed the jet was flying at an appropriate speed during its final descent. At the time, they also disclosed that a device intended to automatically raise panels on top of the wings to help slow aircraft upon landing wasn't functioning. The crew was aware of the issue before takeoff and according to investigators, manually deployed the panels, called speed brakes, about four seconds after touchdown.

Immediately after the runway incident, government and independent air-safety experts stressed the New York City field is renowned for its short runway -- squeezed between water and highways -- putting a premium on getting wheels on the ground as quickly as possible

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