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, in Flushing, New York. Flight 554 was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations 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 prevailed for the approach to runway 13; flight 554 was operating on an instrument flight rules flight plan.
The safety issues in this report focused on the possible hazards of monovision contact lenses, visual illusions encountered during the approach, non-instantaneous vertical speed information, the weather conditions encountered during the approach, the guidance in air carrier’s manuals regarding flightcrew member duties, the stabilized approach criteria in air carrier’s manuals, emergency evacuation procedures, special airport criteria and designation, and LaGuardia Airport issues/runway light spacing.