NTSB Identification: DCA06MA009.
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Scheduled 14 CFR SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO
Accident occurred Thursday, December 08, 2005 in Chicago, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/29/2007
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700, registration: N471WN
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious,21 Minor,85 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 http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/publictn.htm. The Aircraft Accident Brief number is NTSB/AAR-07/06.

On December 8, 2005, about 1914 central standard time, Southwest Airlines (SWA) flight 1248, a Boeing 737-7H4, N471WN, ran off the departure end of runway 31 center (31C) after landing at Chicago Midway Airport (MDW), Chicago, Illinois. The airplane rolled through a blast fence, and airport perimeter fence, and onto an adjacent roadway, where it struck an automobile before coming to a stop. A child in the automobile was killed, one automobile occupant received serious injuries, and three other automobile occupants received minor injuries. Eighteen of the 103 airplane occupants (88 passengers, 3 flight attendants, and 2 pilots) received minor injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 and had departed from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), Baltimore, Maryland, about 1758 eastern standard time. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan.

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

The pilots' failure to use available reverse thrust in a timely manner to safely slow or stop the airplane after landing, which resulted in a runway overrun. This failure occurred because the pilots' first experience and lack of familiarity with the airplane's autobrake system distracted them from thrust reverser usage during the challenging landing.

Contributing to the accident were Southwest Airline's 1) failure to provide its pilots with clear and consistent guidance and training regarding company policies and procedures related to arrival landing distance calculations; 2) programming and design of its onboard performance computer, which did not present inherent assumptions in the program critical to pilot decision making; 3) plan to implement new autobrake procedures without a familiarization period; and 4) failure to include a margin of safety in the arrival assessment to account for operational uncertainties. Also contributing to the accident was the pilots' failure to divert to another airport given reports that included poor braking action and a tailwind component greater than 5 knots. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the absence of an engineering materials arresting system, which was needed because of the limited runway safety area beyond the departure end of runway 31C.

Full narrative available

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