On February 19, 1996, at 0902 central standard time, Continental Airlines (COA) flight 1943, a Douglas DC-9-32, N10556, landed wheels up on runway 27 at the Houston Intercontinental Airport, Houston, Texas. The airplane slid 6,850 feet before coming to rest in the grass about 140 feet left of the runway centerline. The cabin began to fill with smoke, and the captain ordered the evacuation of the airplane. There were 82 passengers, 2 flightcrew members, and 3 flight attendants aboard the airplane. No fatalities or serious injuries occurred; 12 minor injuries to passengers were reported. The airplane sustained substantial damage to its lower fuselage. The regularly scheduled passenger flight was operating under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 and had originated from Washington National Airport about 3 hours before the accident. An instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed; however, visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the landing in Houston.
Safety issues discussed in this report include checklist design, flightcrew training, adherence to standard operating procedures, adequacy of FAA surveillance, and flight attendant tailcone training. Safety recommendations concerning these issues were made to the FAA.