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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-00-100
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: Sponsor a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) study of the stability and control characteristics of widely used, large transport-category airplanes to: identify undesirable characteristics that may develop during the landing phase in the presence of adverse combinations of pilot control inputs, airplane center of gravity position, atmospheric conditions, and other factors; and compare overall qualitative and quantitative stability and control characteristics on an objective basis. The study should include analyses of DC-10 and MD-11 landing accidents and any other landing incidents and accidents deemed pertinent by NASA.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action
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: 7/29/2002
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s): Stability

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 7/29/2002
Response: The review of the studies described by the FAA represents an acceptable alternative method to address Safety Recommendation A-00-100. Based on the FAA's review of existing research, Safety Recommendation A-00-100 is classified "Closed-Acceptable Alternate Action." Safety Recommendation A-00-101 was based on the possible results from the proposed study stated in A-00-100. Because the FAA's review of already completed studies does not indicate that airplane accidents that occur during landing could be further reduced by aircraft design improvements, Safety Recommendation A-00-101 is classified "Closed--Reconsidered."

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/13/2001
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 11/19/2001 10:56:51 AM MC# 2010909: The FAA completed its review of available history related to approach and landing accidents and incidents on large transport-category airplanes. Based on the review, the FAA concluded that the sponsorship of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) study to identify, qualify, and quantify undesirable stability and control characteristics that may develop during landing is not warranted. The FAA concluded that comprehensive reports have already been published on approach and landing accidents during the past several years. One report entitled "Analysis of Critical Factors During Approach and Landing in Accidents and Normal Flight" was produced by the Data Acquisition and Analysis Working Group of the Flight Safety Foundation's Approach and Landing Accident Reduction Task Force. The Data Acquisition and Analysis Working Group was established in August 1997 to analyze data independently that may lead to the identification and/or resolution of approach and landing safety issues. The Data Acquisition and Analysis Working Group was supported globally, and its membership included flightcrews, test pilots, human factors specialists, flight deck designers, aeronautical engineers, researchers, controllers, regulators, accident investigators, and safety analysts. The Data Acquisition and Analysis Working Group effort included an analysis of 287 fatal accidents and detailed case studies of 76 accidents and serious incidents and the assessment of key crew behavioral markers isolated in the occurrences and in the line audits of about 3,300 flights. The accident review process involved reaching consensus views to establish which causal factors, circumstantial factors, and consequences occurred in each accident, together with an assessment of the level of confidence in the information available. In addition, a single primary causal factor was selected from the causal factors identified. The results of a second activity, conducted by the Joint Safety Analysis Team (JSAT) on approach and landing accidents on large commercial transport-category airplanes, was published in a report entitled "Results and Analysis Report" dated September 10, 1999. The JSAT was sponsored by the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST), which is composed of representatives from FAA, NASA, and the aviation industry. The CAST chartered the JSAT to review and analyze accident data and develop intervention strategies to reduce the potential for airplane accidents during the approach and landing phases of flight. None of the conclusions and recommendations from the above reports identify or relate specifically to improvements in the stability and control airworthiness requirements for approach and landing currently contained in 14 CFR Part 25. Rather, the recommendations are related to operational considerations, pilot procedures, training, and awareness, and environmental issues. Furthermore, a review of the interventions contained in Appendix C of the JSAT report does not reveal any interventions on stability and control issues as a causal factor in the accident. In considering Safety Recommendation A-00-100, the FAA concluded that the current airworthiness standards for assessing stability and control characteristics and handling qualities during approach and landing are adequate. Regulations address approach and landing speeds; handling characteristics during landing; stopping distance, brake, and tire limitations; controllability, maneuverability, minimum control speed for landing with engine failures; go-around climb requirements for balked landings and missed approach; and structural limitations. This regulatory framework allows flexibility for the manufacturer to design the airplane to suit specific applications and operating conditions. There is a practical limit to the design restraints on the manufacturer because of airworthiness requirements. For example, specific airworthiness constraints in the extremely remote corners of the flight envelope or at extreme atmospheric conditions could be overly restrictive to the manufacturer, resulting in severe performance penalties. Additionally, there is a wide variation in operational conditions depending on airport, runway, and environmental conditions that should not be part of the airworthiness requirements and should remain operational considerations. Handling qualities during approach and landing are continuously evaluated by a number of test pilots throughout the flight certification program. Large variations in landing weight, center of gravity location, atmospheric conditions (like temperature, icing, and crosswinds), approach speed, and flight path are normally experienced during the course of the program. The FAA shares the Board's concern that certain complex system interactions in the flight control system, piloting characteristics, and other factors can, on rare occasions, combine in undesirable ways. However, based on the reports identified above, the FAA does not believe that basic research based on past accident reports will identify any undesirable landing phase combinations that are directly related to stability and control characteristics. As concluded in the reports, causal and circumstantial factors are more directly related to operational procedures, piloting issues, and environmental conditions. I believe that the FAA has addressed the full intent of this safety recommendation, and I consider the FAA's action to be completed.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 6/13/2001
Response: Pending completion of (1) the FAA's review of planned and current NASA research programs and other FAA and industry research programs related to these recommendations and (2) notice from the FAA on the research program it will sponsor at NASA on stability and control characteristics of widely used, large transport-category airplanes, Safety Recommendations A-00-100 and -101 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 current FAA regulations address approach and landing speed, stopping distance, brake and tire limitations, controllability and maneuverability, minimum control speed for landing with engine failures, go-around climb requirements for balked landings and missed approach, and structural limitations. The regulations allow flexibility for the manufacturer to design the airplane to suit specific applications and operating conditions. Handling qualities during approach and landing are continuously evaluated by a number of test pilots throughout the flight certification program. Large variations in landing weight, center of gravity location, atmospheric conditions (like temperature, icing, and crosswinds), approach speed, and flight path are normally experienced during the course of the program. The FAA recognizes the Board's concern that certain complex system interactions, pilot input characteristics, and other factors like center of gravity location and atmospheric conditions may occasionally combine during the landing phase in undesirable ways that were not identified during the original certification. Therefore, the FAA will review current National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) studies and proposals that may accomplish the objectives of this safety recommendation before making a decision to proceed with the sponsorship of a new NASA study of the handling qualities of widely used, large transport-category airplanes. The decision to sponsor a study will also depend on an evaluation of similar studies that have been or are currently being conducted within the FAA and among airplane manufacturers. It is anticipated that the FAA will complete its review by April 2001. I will inform the Board of the FAA's course of action to address this safety recommendation as soon as the review is completed.