NTSB Identification: NYC97MA005.
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Scheduled 14 CFR operation of DELTA AIR LINES, INC.
Accident occurred Saturday, October 19, 1996 in FLUSHING, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1998
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-88, registration: N914DL
Injuries: 3 Minor,60 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The Safety Board's full report is available at www.ntsb.gov/publictn/publictn.htm. NTSB Report AAR-97/03.

About 1638 eastern daylight time, on October 19, 1996, a McDonnell Douglas MD-88, N914DL, operated by Delta Air Lines, Inc., as flight 554, struck the approach light structure and the end of the runway deck during the approach to land on runway 13 at the LaGuardia Airport (LGA), in Flushing, New York. Flight 554 was being operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121, as a scheduled, domestic passenger flight from Atlanta, Georgia, to Flushing. The flight departed the William B. Hartsfield International Airport at Atlanta, Georgia, about 1441, with two flightcrew members, three flight attendants, and 58 passengers on board. Three passengers reported minor injuries; no injuries were reported by the remaining 60 occupants. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the lower fuselage, wings (including slats and flaps), main landing gear, and both engines. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed for the approach to runway 13; flight 554 was operating on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The Safety Board's full report is available at www.ntsb.gov/publictn/publictn.htm. NTSB Report AAR-97/03.

the inability of the captain, because of his use of monovision contact lenses, to overcome his misperception of the airplane's position relative to the runway during the visual portion of the approach. This misperception occurred because of visual illusions produced by the approach over water in limited light conditions, the absence of visible ground features, the rain and fog, and the irregular spacing of the runway lights. Contributing to the accident was the lack of instantaneous vertical speed information available to the pilot not flying, and the incomplete guidance available to optometrists, aviation medical examiners, and pilots regarding the prescription of unapproved monovision contact lenses for use by pilots. (NTSB Report AAR-97/03)

Full narrative available

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