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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-97-084
Details
Synopsis: About 1638 eastern daylight time, on 10/19/96, a McDonnell Douglas MD-88, N914dl, operated by Delta Airlines, 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 (CFR) Part 121, as a scheduled, domestic passenger flight from Atlanta, Georgia, to Flushing. The flight departed the Williams B. Hartsfield International Airport in 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.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Identify Part 139 airports that have irregular runway light spacing, evaluate the potential hazards of such irregular spacing, and determine if standardizing runway light spacing is warranted.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: FLUSHING, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: NYC97MA005
Accident Reports: Descent Below Visual Glidepath and Collision with Terrain Delta Air Lines Flight 554 McDonnell Douglas MD-88, N914DL
Report #: AAR-97-03
Accident Date: 10/19/1996
Issue Date: 8/29/1997
Date Closed: 3/23/2000
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 3/23/2000
Response: BECAUSE THE SAFETY BOARD HAS REVIEWED THE REPORT PROVIDED BY THE FAA AND CONCURS WITH THE TESTING RESULTS, A-97-84 IS CLASSIFIED "CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION."

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/20/1999
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 12/27/1999 8:14:03 AM MC# 991514 THE FAA CONDUCTED AN EVALUATION OF THE EFFECTS OF IRREGULARLY SPACED RUNWAY EDGE LIGHTS AT LAGUARDIA AIRPORT ON PILOT PERFORMANCE DURING APPROACH AND LANDING. THE EVALUATION WAS CONDUCTED USING THE BOEING 727-200 SIMULATOR AT THE FAA AERONAUTICAL CENTER IN OKLAHOMA CITY, OK. THE EVALUATION CONCLUDED THAT THE IRREGULAR EDGE LIGHT SPACING AT LAGUARDIA AIRPORT HAD NO EFFECT ON PILOTS' ABILITY TO JUDGE HEIGHT ABOVE GROUND, RATE OF DESCENT, AND OTHER SITUATIONAL AWARENESS FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH LANDING THE AIRCRAFT UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES. DURING THE DEBRIEF SESSIONS, ALL PARTICIPANTS EMPHASIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF THE OVERALL ENVIRONMENT IN MAINTAINING SITUATIONAL AWARENESS AND NOT RELIANCE ON A SINGLE CUE. CONSEQUENTLY, THE FAA DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT STANDARDIZING RUNWAY LIGHT SPACING IS WARRANTED. I HAVE ENCLOSED A COPY OF THE FINAL REPORT FOR THE BOARD'S INFORMATION. I CONSIDER THE FAA'S ACTION TO BE COMPLETED, AND I PLAN NO FURTHER ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THIS RECOMMENDATION.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 3/15/1999
Response: A-97-84 ASKED THE FAA TO IDENTIFY 14 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS PART 139 AIRPORTS THAT HAVE IRREGULAR RUNWAY LIGHT SPACING, EVALUATE THE POTENTIAL HAZARDS OF SUCH IRREGULAR SPACING, AND DETERMINE IF STANDARDIZING RUNWAY LIGHT SPACING IS WARRANTED. PENDING COMPLETION OF THE TEST PROGRAM AND SUBSEQUENT ACTIONS CONSISTENT WITH THIS RECOMMENDATION, A-97-84 IS CLASSIFIED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 2/8/1999
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 02/10/1999 MC# 990132 THE FAA IS CONTINUING ITS EFFORT TO DETERMINE THE EFFECTS OF VARIATIONS IN THE SPACING OF RUNWAY LIGHTS ON PILOT PERFORMANCE USING AN AIRCRAFT SIMULATOR WITH DIFFERING LIGHT SPACING LIKE THOSE THAT EXIST AT LAGUARDIA TO DETERMINE IF A PROBLEM EXISTS. THE FAA HAD ANTICIPATED COMPLETION OF THE WORK BY OCTOBER 1998, BUT REPROGRAMMED THE SCHEDULE AND ACTIVITIES AS A RESULT OF WORKLOAD PRIORITIES. IN DECEMBER 1998, THE TEST PLAN WAS COMPLETED AND THE AIRCRAFT SIMULATOR PROGRAMMED TO DISPLAY VARIOUS RUNWAY EDGE LIGHT SPACING. THE FAA NOW ANTICIPATES COMPLETING ITS STUDY BY JULY 1999.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 8/17/1998
Response: The FAA has stated that it is determining the effects of variations in the spacing of runway lights on pilot performance using an aircraft simulator with differing light spacing. Upon completion, by October 1998, the FAA will determine if standardizing runway light spacing is warranted or feasible. Pending results of the study, the Safety Board classifies Safety Recommendation A-97-84 "Open--Acceptable Response."

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/13/1997
Response: The first task that must be accomplished is to determine the effects of variations in the spacing of runway lights on pilot performance. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will use an aircraft simulator with differing light spacing such as those that exist at LaGuardia to determine if a problem exists. It is anticipated that the FAA will complete this study by October 1998. Once this study is completed, the FAA will determine if standardizing runway light spacing is warranted or feasible. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on this safety recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 11/13/1997
Response: ################