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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-97-094
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: Once criteria for designating special airports and special runways and/or special approaches have been developed as recommended in recommendations A-97-92 and -93, evaluate all airports against that criteria and update special airport publications accordingly.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable 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: 1/11/2011
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 1/11/2011
Response: When FAA and NTSB staff met in 2004, the FAA indicated that it had used the airport assessment aid to review all airports to determine whether any should be designated as special airports or as special pilot-in-command airports, and it had published on the Internet a list of all affected airports. The FAA believed that this action fully satisfied Safety Recommendation A-97-94. When the NTSB classified this recommendation on December 15, 2004, we stated that completion of activities in response to Safety Recommendation A-97-94 was contingent on completing an acceptable response to Safety Recommendation A-97-92. In view of our reclassification of Safety Recommendation A-97-92, Safety Recommendation A-97-94 is classified CLOSED -- UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 12/15/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that on October 16, 2003, the FAA issued Handbook Bulletin for Air Transportation (HBAT) 03-07, "Special Pilot-in-Command Airport Qualification, OpSpec Paragraph C050," and on December 8, 2003, HBAT 03-09, "Special Airport Authorizations, Provisions, and Limitations and Selected Practices Applicable to OpSpec C067." During the meeting in April, the FAA indicated that the specification of criteria and conditions for the classification of special airports is problematic, because the need to designate an airport as special may be specific to aircraft operating into that airport, or a particular airline operating into the airport. The FAA believes the intent of these recommendations is to ensure heightened awareness on the part of airline crews operating into these airports; therefore, the FAA has created a new "special pilot-in-command" classification for airports requiring flight crew familiarity. The HBATs contain the procedures to be used by a principal operations inspector (POI) together with an affected airline to determine whether an airport should be classified as a special airport or a special pilot-in-command airport. The bulletins also include information for determining special runways and special approaches. HBAT 03-07 also includes an airport assessment aid to provide guidance to the POI in this determination. The Safety Board reviewed HBAT 03-07 and 03-09, including the airport assessment aid. Although these documents are improvements to previously available guidance on special airports, they do not fully address the intent of Safety Recommendation A-97-92. That recommendation asks for the development and publication of specific criteria and conditions for the classification of special airports, such as a set of standards that can be applied uniformly to all airports. The FAA has produced a set of questions to ask about an airport such as the proximity of terrain to the airport. However, there is no guidance that defines specifically and quantitatively how the answers to the questions in the airport assessment aid should be used to determine whether an airport should be designated as a special airport. The Board notes that, not only is there no guidance on how to interpret answers to questions in the airport assessment aid, but the designation of special pilot-in-command is also left to the discretion of an airline's POI, which may lead to inconsistent designations. The purpose of designating special airports is to alert flight crews about significant terrain, obstructions, or special procedural conditions at airports into which they may only infrequently operate. The FAA's response to date for Safety Recommendation A-97-92 is not acceptable. Pending the development and publication of specific criteria and conditions for the classification of special airports, Safety Recommendation A-97-92 remains classified "Open -- Unacceptable Response." If the FAA believes that its actions fully meet the intent of this recommendation and the FAA plans no further action, the Safety Board asks the FAA to indicate so in a letter so that we may close this recommendation. As Safety Recommendations A-97-93 and -94 are contingent on an acceptable response to A-97-92, pending the FAA's taking the recommended actions, Safety Recommendations A-97-93 and -94 remain classified OPEN -- UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/26/2004
Response: SWAT Meetings, December 12, 2004, and April 6, 2004 Minutes of April 6, 2004 meeting attached. On April 26, 2004, staff from the Safety Board (Paul Misencik, Dave Tew, Jeff Marcus) met with the FAA for the briefing on special airports discussed at previous SWAT Meetings.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 10/7/2002
Response: The Safety Board is concerned about the length of time that it has taken for the FAA to respond to these recommendations. Almost 5 years after these recommendations were issued, and 2 1/2 years after the FAA believed the AC would be issued, the FAA has not completed this action. The Board further notes that the current version of AC 121.445, issued June 20, 1990, is outdated and incomplete. The Board urges the FAA to act promptly on these recommendations. Pending prompt issuance of an AC that will include specific criteria and conditions for the classification of special airports, criteria for special runways and/or special approaches, an updated list of all special airports, and revisions to Order 8400.10 to incorporate the changes, Safety Recommendations A-97-92 through -94 are classified OPEN -- UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/4/2002
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 06/17/2002 4:01:12 PM MC# 2020602 - From Jane F. Garvey, Administrator: The FAA advised the Board that it agreed with the intent of these safety recommendations and was developing a flight standards handbook bulletin and revising Advisory Circular (AC) 121.445, Pilot-In-Command Qualifications for Special Area/Routes and Airports, Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Section 121.445. The handbook bulletin and the AC will address the issues outlined in these safety recommendations. This letter informs the Board that the FAA is still proceeding with the issuance of the AC; however, it is taking much longer than anticipated to resolve comments submitted during the coordination process. Additionally, the FAA has determined that it is not necessary to issue a handbook bulletin in addition to the AC. Once the AC is issued, the FAA will post the document on its web site and revise Order 8400.10 to incorporate these changes at the next revision cycle. I believe that the AC will address the full intent of these safety recommendations, and I will provide the Board with a copy of the AC as soon as it is issued.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 1/19/2000
Response: The FAA reports that it is developing a flight standards handbook bulletin and revising Advisory Circular (AC) 121.445, "Pilot-In-Command Qualifications for Special Area/Routes," and Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Section 121.445, "Airports," to address the issues outlined in these safety recommendations. The FAA states that the AC is presently undergoing internal FAA coordination and should be published in the Federal Register. As soon as the AC is completed, the FAA states that it will proceed with issuing the bulletin. The FAA states that it plans to have both documents issued by February 2000. Pending the development and issuance of a flight standards handbook bulletin and issuance of revisions to AC 121.445 and FAR Section 121.445, Safety Recommendations A-97-92 through -94 are classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/21/1999
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/24/99 3:03:29 PM MC# 991071: - From Jane F. Garvey, Administrator: The FAA agrees with the intent of these safety recommendations and is developing a flight standards handbook bulletin and revising Advisory Circular (AC) 121.445, Pilot-In-Command Qualifications for Special Area/Routes and Airports, Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Section 121.445. The handbook bulletin and the AC will address the issues outlined in these safety recommendations. The AC is presently undergoing internal FAA coordination and should be published in the Federal Register for comment by November 1999. As soon as the AC is completed, the FAA will proceed with issuing the flight standards handbook bulletin. The FAA plans to have both documents issued by February 2000. I will provide the Board with copies of these documents as soon as they are issued.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 8/17/1998
Response: The FAA has stated that it is developing a flight standards handbook bulletin and revising Advisory Circular (AC) 121.445, "Pilot-In-Command Qualifications for Special Area/Routes and Airports, Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Section 121.445." The bulletin and AC would address the issues outlined in these safety recommendations. Pending completion of these actions by the FAA, the Safety Board classifies Safety Recommendations A-97-92 through -94 OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/13/1997
Response: MC# 971529: - From Jane F. Garvey, Administrator: The FAA agrees with the intent of these safety recommendations and is developing a flight standards handbook bulletin and revising Advisory Circular (AC) 121.445, Pilot-In-Command Qualifications for Special Area/Routes and Airports, Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Section 121.445. The bulletin and AC will address the issues outlined in these safety recommendations. It is anticipated that these documents will be issued in April 1998. I will provide the Board with copies of these documents as soon as they are issued.