On March 22, 1997, at 0644 atlantic standard time, a Boeing 747-269B, N707CK, owned and operated by American International Airways, Inc., sustained minor damage during a hard landing at Manaus, Brazil. Flight 903 was a cargo flight which departed Miami, Florida, at 0152. There were no injuries reported by the crew of seven. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the incident. The flight was operating under provisions of 14 CFR Part 121 and an IFR flight plan was on file. The pilot reported glare from landing into the sun resulted in a hard landing.

Both of the pilots held Captain ratings with the airline. Prior to commencing the flight they determined between themselves who would act as the pilot-in-command and who would act as the second pilot for this flight. Because they both held the status of Captain either could operate the airplane from the left seat. They decided that the pilot-in-command would occupy the right seat and act as the non-flying pilot while the second pilot would occupy the left seat and act as the flying pilot.

During interviews and written statements, they said the landing was into the early morning sun approximately 30 minutes after local sunrise. They reported that the glare from the sun was intense and the flying pilot installed his windshield sun shade at the other marker. They said that the 1,000 foot and 500 foot call outs were made with confirmation of the runway in sight. The flying pilot continued to fly on instruments to decision height. They said that at approximately 1,000 feet the glare increased with low haze and the forward visibility decreased. In their written statement they said that the flying pilot considered the airplane to be in the correct attitude for landing; however, the non-flying (PIC) took control prior to touchdown and flared the airplane when he saw no apparent flare. The airplane then touched down hard.

An inspection of the airplane after the hard landing found wrinkles in the fuselage. The airplane was ferried back to the maintenance base in Michigan, where it was subjected for further inspection. It was determined that the damage was minor.

The "Flight Data Recorder" was removed and the data analyzed by the NTSB's Office of Research and Engineering. A copy of the Factual Report is attached as an addendum to this report. The report confirms a hard landing at Manaus, Brazil, where the touchdown produced 2.77 "G." The data indicated that the sink rate increased when the non-flying pilot moved the control column aft in an attempt to flare the airplane.

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