Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-00-092
Details
Synopsis: .In this letter, the national transportation safety board recommends that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) take action to address the following safety issues: air carrier pilot training in landing techniques and bounced landing recovery, training tools and policies that promote proactive decision-making to go around if an approach is unstabilized, the use of on board computers to determine the required runway length for landing, md-11 handling characteristics and structural integrity requirements, and hard landing inspection requirements. The safety board identified these issues in its investigation of the 1997 accident involving Federal Express flight 14 in Newark, NJ. This letter summarizes the Board's rationale for issuing these recommendations
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Convene a joint government-industry task force composed, at a minimum, of representatives of manufacturers, operators, pilot labor organizations, and the FAA to develop, within 1 year, a pilot training tool to do the following: include information about factors that can contribute to structural failures involving the landing gear, wings, and fuselage, such as design sink rate limits; roll angle limits; control inputs' roll rate; pitch rate, single-gear landings; the effect of decreased lift; and structural loading consequences of bottoming landing gear struts and tires.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Reconsidered
Mode: Aviation
Location: Newark, NJ, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA97MA055
Accident Reports: Crash During Landing Federal Express, Inc., McDonnell Douglas MD-11, N611FE
Report #: AAR-00-02
Accident Date: 7/31/1997
Issue Date: 8/25/2000
Date Closed: 5/1/2009
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Reconsidered)
Keyword(s): Flightcrew, Training and Education

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 5/1/2009
Response: Include information about factors that can contribute to structural failures involving the landing gear, wings, and fuselage, such as design sink rate limits; roll angle limits; control inputs' roll rate; pitch rate; single-gear landings; the effect of decreased lift; and structural loading consequences of bottoming landing gear struts and tires. Since this recommendation was issued, the FAA has indicated its belief that the goals of this recommendation are better addressed through the actions it has taken in response to Safety Recommendations A-00-93 and -94 to develop specific simulator training for stabilized approaches and recovery from unstabilized approaches with an emphasis on a proactive go-around. On the basis of actions taken by the FAA, Safety Recommendations A-00-93 and 94 were classified Closed Acceptable Action on October 22, 2002. At that time, however, the Safety Board stated that although the FAA’s action addressed Safety Recommendations A-00-93 and -94, these actions did not constitute an acceptable alternative response to Safety Recommendation A-00-92. In the letter that transmitted Safety Recommendation A-00-92 to the FAA and again during a Safety With A Team (SWAT) meeting on February 3, 2004, the Board indicated that FedEx had added instructional material on landing gear and wing structural certification to its tailstrike awareness program and that the intent of this recommendation was to disseminate similar information to other operators. In its current letter, the FAA indicated that after the SWAT meeting, it reviewed the FedEx instructional material and discussed it with the individual who had developed it. The FAA stated that the material is presented on 3 slides within a 38-slide presentation on tailstrike awareness. While the FAA believes this material may be informative for pilots, it does not believe that the material would improve a pilot’s ability to avoid a hard landing. The FAA continues to believe that the intent of this recommendation is to reduce landing accidents and that the intent is better addressed through training that emphasizes a stabilized approach to the landing flare and a proactive go-around. The Safety Board has reevaluated the points made by the FAA and concurs with the FAA’s position. Consequently, Safety Recommendation A-00-92 is classified CLOSED--RECONSIDERED.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/16/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 11/3/2008 10:53:20 AM MC# 2080662: Robert A. Sturgell, Acting Administrator, FAA, 10/16/08 The Approach and Landing and Loss of Control Joint Safety Analysis Team analyzed data from global fatal accidents, including the Federal Express (FedEx) MD-11 accident, and developed specific recommendations to address simulator training for stabilized approaches and recovery from unstabilized approaches with emphasis on a proactive go-around. These recommendations were provided to the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST). As indicated in our letter, dated May 15, 2002, the Federal Aviation Administration, in concert with the CAST, examined the issues presented in this safety recommendation and informed the Board that the intent of this safety recommendation would be best addressed through the approach and landing accident reduction training material outlined in response to safety recommendations A-00-93 and A-00-94. In its letter dated October 22, 2002, the Board agreed safety recommendations A-00-93 and A-00-94 would reduce the occurrence and severity of landing accidents, but it did not agree that those actions were an acceptable substitute for this safety recommendation. The Board agreed with the FAA’s position that pilots are aware that hard landings may damage aircraft, and are trained to avoid them, however, the Board believes this training fails on occasion. The Board reiterated in its letter, and again at the Safety With A Team (SWAT) meeting in February 2004, that following the MD-11 accident, FedEx added instructional material on landing gear and wing structural certification to their tail-strike awareness program. The Board is concerned the lack of this guidance in other operators’ training programs could contribute to similar landing accidents. Following the February 2004 SWAT meeting, the FAA considered possible training changes for the MD-1l/DC-l0 fleets. We reviewed the FedEx instructional material recommended by the Board and discussed the material with the individual who developed it. This material consists of 3 slides within a 38-slide presentation on tail-strike awareness. While it may be informative for pilots, the FAA does not believe that the material would improve a pilot’s ability to avoid a hard landing. The FAA continues to believe that the goal of this safety recommendation, to reduce landing accidents, is better addressed through training that emphasizes a stabilized approach to the landing flare and a proactive go-around. There are a number of training materials aimed at approach and landing accident reduction. These training materials were originally referenced in Flight Standards Information Bulletin for Air Transportation (FSAT) 01 -12, Approach and Landing Accident Reduction (ALAR): Recommended Flightcrew Training. With the development of the Flight Standards Information Management System as the repository for all policy and guidance for FAA aviation safety inspectors, FSAT 01-12 was replaced by Information for Operators (InFO) 08029 (enclosure 1) on May 16, 2008, and is available to the public online. This conversion has changed the title, but the content of the document is virtually unchanged. The training material referenced includes the following: Advisory Circular (AC) 120-71A, Standard Operating Procedures for Flight Deck Crewmembers (enclosure 2). This AC was originally developed by a joint task force headed by the FAA, under the CAST, and was revised February 27, 2003; ·ALAR Training Guide. This guide was developed by a joint task force headed by the Air Transport Association, under CAST, and included as an appendix to InFO 08029; and ·ALAR Toolkit. This toolkit was developed by a joint task force headed by the Flight Safety Foundation. The toolkit consolidates a broad selection of reports and other training materials targeting ALAR, and is available to the public for purchase at the Flight Safety Foundation Web site, http://www.flightsafety.org/cfit4.html. I believe that the FAA has effectively addressed this safety recommendation, and I consider our actions complete.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 10/22/2002
Response: Although the Safety Board agrees that the FAA and industry action in response to Safety Recommendations A-00-93 and -94 will reduce the occurrence and severity of landing accidents, it does not agree that these actions are an acceptable substitute for the action in Safety Recommendation A-00-92. The Board continues to believe this recommendation is needed and reiterates the following from the letter that transmitted this recommendation to the FAA: Following this accident, FedEx added instructional material and guidance on landing gear and wing structural certification to its tailstrike awareness training program. This guidance detailed the effects of vertical acceleration on the MLG and wings and explained the effects of roll and pitch rate on total sink rate. The FedEx training information describes in detail the aerodynamic effects of large nose-down elevator inputs that result in reduced-g touchdowns, which increase the loads that must be absorbed by the MLG. The Safety Board notes that one of the new FedEx training modules closely describes the acceleration, pitch, and roll factors found in the Newark accident scenario. However, based on discussions with pilots who have flown with several air carriers, the Board is concerned that this information may be lacking in other operators' training programs and that this lack of landing guidance could contribute to similar landing accidents. Although the Safety Board agrees that pilots are aware that hard landings may damage aircraft, and are trained to avoid them, this training fails on occasion. Further, the Board has not recommended providing landing gear design limits to pilots, nor has the Board recommended providing more emphasis on limited structural capability of the landing gear. The Board believes that, in these situations, it is valuable for the pilot to have been trained in how different maneuvers may affect the structural loads on the airframe and to avoid the types of maneuvers that the FedEx pilot in Newark used trying to avoid a hard landing. The Board continues to believe in the benefit of informing pilots about factors that can contribute to structural failures involving the landing gear, wings, and fuselage, such as design sink rate limits, roll angle limits, control inputs' roll rate, pitch rate, single-gear landings, the effect of decreased lift, and structural loading consequences of bottoming landing gear struts and tires. Pending development and distribution of this material, Safety Recommendation A-00-92 is classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/15/2002
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 06/10/2002 9:25:16 AM MC# 2020574 The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in concert with the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST), examined the issue of providing pilots information about the structural limitations of aircraft, especially during the landing phase of flight. During the course of its investigation, the Board found that many pilots were not aware of landing gear design criteria and structural limits. For example, airplane landing loads are calculated assuming that lift is being maintained by the wings such that the vertical acceleration of the airplane is zero (lift equals weight). Unloading the wings just before touchdown with a nose-down input results in increased load on the landing gear, perhaps beyond its design capability. The intent of this recommendation is to train pilots in the structural limits of the airplane and landing gear so that they would not put the airplane in a position to exceed these limits, and if it were apparent that these limits would be exceeded, they would perform a go-around. The FAA believes that these goals would be better addressed through the actions outlined in response to Safety Recommendations A-00-93 and -94. The FAA does not believe that training pilots in the structural limits of aircraft is appropriate for the following reasons: · While pilots may not be aware of the specific design structural capability of the airplane and landing gear, they are generally aware of the consequences of hard landings and are trained to avoid them. Pilots are also aware that hard landings will result from certain conditions like unloading the wings just before touchdown, landing with a significant amount of roll rate, or landing at a high sink rate. · Providing landing gear design 'limits" as part of pilot training would be difficult and potentially misleading. Landing gear structural design capability cannot necessarily be defined in terms of specific criteria such as design sink rate limits. Landing gear structural design is based on numerous criteria, including design static and dynamic loads and fatigue strength requirements. Furthermore, the Federal Aviation Regulations only establish minimum structural design criteria, which the manufacturer may exceed. Any specific limits that could be developed for pilot training would be understated and would give the pilot a false impression of the capability of the airplane. As noted by the Board, the actual structural capability of the MD-11 landing gear was approximately three times the level established by the referenced regulatory requirement. · Providing more emphasis on the limited structural capability of landing gear would likely lead to a greater sensitivity to these limits, potentially causing unnecessary overreaction as occurred in the MD-11 accident. According to the Board, one of the causes of this accident was the pilot's "... excessive over-control of the airplane," which began with "... a nearly full nose-up elevator input and a large throttle increase to compensate for the increased sink rate caused by his previous nose-down input." In other words, the overcontrol occurred as a result of the pilot's effort to avoid a hard landing in the first place. For the reasons outlined above, the FAA does not believe that it would be appropriate to develop pilot training that includes the factors that could contribute to structural failure of the landing gear. However, the actions taken to address Safety Recommendations A-00-93 and -94 do accomplish the intent of this safety recommendation. I consider the FAA's action to be completed in response to this safety recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 6/13/2001
Response: Pending completion and implementation of the JSAT recommendations, Safety Recommendations A-00-92, -93, and -94 are classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/13/2000
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 11/15/2000 3:27:59 PM MC# 2001695 The FAA agrees with the intent of these safety recommendations. The Approach and Landing and Loss of Control Joint Safety Analysis Teams (JSAT) that were convened under the FAA's Safer Skies Safety Initiative have already addressed the issues outlined in these safety recommendations. The JSAT's have analyzed data from global fatal accidents, including the Federal Express MD-11 accident, and developed specific interventions to address simulator training for stabilized approaches and recovery from unstabilized approaches, including emphasis on proactive go-around philosophy. The interventions are as follows: to reduce the likelihood of hard landings, airlines/operators should develop training syllabi with improved coverage of landings, including identification of and recovery from unstabilized flares, high sink rates, and bounced landings; and airlines/operators should implement a true no-fault go-around policy. The interventions were provided to the Commercial Aviation Safety Team to determine the best method of implementation. The FAA will provide any additional information regarding the factors that can contribute to structural failures involving the landing gear, wings, and fuselage and structural loading consequences of bottoming landing gear struts and tires to the safety team as requested. It is anticipated that this effort will be completed by June 2001. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on these safety recommendations.