WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Board issued investigative updates Tuesday as part of the agency’s ongoing investigation of a Boeing 737 runway excursion at New York's LaGuardia Airport and a Boeing MD-10 landing gear failure accident in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Both events happened in late October.
Eastern Air Lines Runway Excursion
A Boeing 737-700 (registration N278EA), a chartered flight operated by Eastern Air Lines Group, overran Runway 22 during landing at LaGuardia Airport, Flushing, New York, Oct. 27, about 7:42 p.m. EDT. The airplane veered to the right during the overrun and partially transited the Engineered Material Arresting System before it came to a stop on the turf about 200 feet from the runway end. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time. The 11 crew and 37 passengers, including then vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, deplaned via the airstairs. The flight originated at Fort Dodge, Iowa, about 4:23 p.m. CDT.
Initial findings include the following:
The airplane was manufactured in 1998. It had accumulated 48,179 total flight hours with 17,098 total flight cycles at the time of the incident.
Investigators retrieved the flight data and cockpit voice recorders shortly after arriving on scene. The recorders were transported to the NTSB recorders lab for download. Both recorders contained good quality data.
The flight crew reported the landing followed a stable approach.
The flight crew reported sighting the runway when the airplane was about 700 feet above the ground; they said that the airplane “floated” during the landing flare; the main landing gear touched down on the wet runway about 3,000 feet beyond the runway threshold.
The speed brakes were manually engaged about four seconds after touchdown. Thrust reversers were deployed about seven seconds after touchdown.
The flight crew did not report any mechanical irregularities or abnormal braking action, which was corroborated by the flight data recorder.
Investigators interviewed flight crews of the four airplanes that landed immediately prior to the incident airplane; none reported any problems with braking action on the wet runway.
The on-scene investigation was completed Oct. 30, after which the airplane was released to the operator. The performance of the EMAS will be examined to determine its effect on the deceleration of the airplane.
Parties to the investigation are the Federal Aviation Administration, Eastern Air Lines Group and Boeing.
FedEx Express MD-10 Landing Gear Failure
FedEx Express flight 910, a Boeing MD-10-10F (registration N370FE) experienced a left main landing gear collapse and subsequent fire in the left wing after landing on Runway 10L at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Oct. 28, about 5:51 p.m. EDT. The airplane came to rest on the side of Runway 10L. The two flight crew members evacuated the airplane via the cockpit window and were not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The cargo flight originated from Memphis International Airport, Memphis, Tennessee.
Initial findings include the following:
The airplane was manufactured in 1972 and configured for passenger service. It was converted to a DC-10-10F freighter in 1999 and further modified to an MD-10-10F in 2003. It had accumulated 84,589 total flight hours with 35,606 total flight cycles at the time of the accident.
Investigators retrieved the flight data and cockpit voice recorders shortly after arriving on scene. The recorders were transported to the NTSB recorders lab for download. Both recorders contained good quality data. The CVR Group convened last week at the NTSB recorders lab and completed a draft transcription of the event’s audio recording.
Preliminary information from the flight data recorder indicates the airplane’s touchdown appeared normal and the airplane rolled on the runway for about 12 seconds before the left main landing gear collapsed.
After the left gear collapsed, the left engine and left wingtip contacted and scraped the runway, rupturing fuel lines and the left wing fuel tank. Fuel from the left wing ignited as the airplane rolled down the runway. The fire continued to burn after the airplane came to rest, resulting in fire damage to the left wing. The fire was extinguished by airport fire and rescue personnel.
The NTSB, with assistance from investigative party members and Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport personnel, documented runway damage and debris on the runway. The first damage to the runway occurred about 3,750 feet from the runway 10L threshold. The airplane came to rest about 6,600 feet from the threshold.
Both flight crew members were interviewed in the days following the accident. They reported a stabilized approach to the airport and no anomalies with the gear retraction or extension during the accident flight.
Investigators completed the examination of the airplane and identified several parts of the left main landing gear for further examination. Those parts were transported to the NTSB lab for metallurgical examinations focusing on detailed characterization of the left main landing gear fracture surfaces.
The NTSB team completed their on-scene work and will continue further examinations of recovered parts and recorded information at the NTSB laboratories in Washington. The FAA, FedEx Express, the Air Line Pilots Association, and Boeing are parties to the investigation.
The investigation dockets for each event, containing factual group reports and other investigation-related material, will be opened at a future date. Additional information will be released as warranted.
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