NTSB Identification: NYC06LA033.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR operation of Miami Air International
Accident occurred Saturday, November 19, 2005 in State College, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/27/2007
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800, registration: N734MA
Injuries: 127 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During the approach, the captain had disconnected the autopilot, but had left the autothrottles engaged in what is known as "mixed-mode" method of flight control in which control of the flight path is mixed between manual and automatic means. During this time, the autothrottle began to track an airspeed which had been previously selected in the mode control panel speed window. The captain disconnected the autothrottles, but did not retard the throttles to idle. Therefore, automatic speedbrake deployment did not take place during the first touchdown. During the resultant bounce, the captain then retarded the thrust levers to idle, the speedbrakes deployed, there was a loss of lift and nose up pitching moment, and a tailstrike resulted. The airplane manufacturer recommended autothrottle use only when the autopilot was engaged. They also advised if the airplane bounced while landing, the pilot should hold or re-establish a normal landing attitude and add thrust as necessary to control the rate of descent, and that thrust need not be added for a "shallow skip or bounce," however, if a "high, hard bounce" occurred, the pilot should initiate a go-around. Information concerning the dangers of mixed-mode operations and bounced landing recovery was available to the operator and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); however there were no prohibition on mixed-mode operations, nor were bounced landing recovery guidance required to be listed in any of the operator's FAA approved manuals. Two months prior to the accident, the Safety Board issued a recommendation to the FAA; to require air carriers to incorporate bounced landing recovery techniques in their flight manuals and to teach these techniques during training. As a result the FAA issued a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO), which "recommended" each airline, include bounced landing recovery techniques in their manuals and training; however since the SAFO was not mandatory, the Safety Board requested the FAA survey air carriers to establish how many had adopted the SAFO. The Safety Board advised the FAA that until the results of the SAFO were known, the Safety Board's recommendation would remain classified; Open Acceptable Response.

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

The pilot's improper touchdown and recovery from a bounced landing. Factors to the accident were the operator's failure to provide sufficient information on the use of autothrottles and bounced landing recovery techniques, along with the Federal Aviation Administration's failure to require the inclusion of mixed-mode flight control guidance and bounced landing recovery techniques in operator pilot training programs and flight manuals.

Full narrative available

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