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Mon, Dec 12, 2011

NTSB Forwards Recommendations On Tailwind Landings To FAA

Reaction To B737 Runway Overrun In Jamaica

The NTSB has issued a series of safety recommendations to the FAA in response to an incident in which an American Airlines B737 overran the end of the runway on landing in Kingston, Jamaica in December 2009. The aircraft landed approximately 4,000 feet down the 8,911-foot-long, wet runway with a 14-knot tailwind component and was unable to stop on the remaining runway length. After running off the runway end, it went through a fence, across a road, and came to a stop on the sand dunes and rocks above the waterline of the Caribbean Sea adjacent to the road. While there were no fatalities or postcrash fire, eighty-five of the 154 occupants (148 passengers, 4 flight attendants, and 2 pilots) received injuries ranging from minor to serious. The airplane was substantially damaged. Instrument meteorological conditions and heavy rains prevailed at the time of the accident flight, which originated at Miami, Florida, on an instrument flight rules flight plan.

As a result, the NTSB recommends that the FAA require principal operations inspectors to review flight crew training programs and manuals to ensure training in tailwind landings is (1) provided during initial and recurrent simulator training; (2) to the extent possible, conducted at the maximum tailwind component certified for the aircraft on which pilots are being trained; and (3) conducted with an emphasis on the importance of landing within the touchdown zone, being prepared to execute a go-around, with either pilot calling for it if at any point landing within the touchdown zone becomes unfeasible, and the related benefits of using maximum flap extension in tailwind conditions.

The FAA is also advised it should revise Advisory Circular 91-79, "Runway Overrun Prevention," to include a discussion of the risks associated with tailwind landings, including tailwind landings on wet or contaminated runways as related to runway overrun prevention. Once Advisory Circular 91-79, "Runway Overrun Prevention," has been revised, require principal operations inspectors to review airline training programs and manuals to ensure they incorporate the revised guidelines concerning tailwind landings. The agency should further require principal operations inspectors to ensure that the information contained in Safety Alert for Operators 06012 is disseminated to 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121, 135, and 91 subpart K instructors, check airmen, and aircrew program designees and they make pilots aware of this guidance during recurrent training, according to the board.

The National Transportation Safety Board also reiterates the following recommendation to the Federal Aviation Administration and reclassifies it "Open-Unacceptable Response":

Require all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121, 135, and 91 subpart K operators to accomplish arrival landing distance assessments before every landing based on a standardized methodology involving approved performance data, actual arrival conditions, a means of correlating the airplane's braking ability with runway surface conditions using the most conservative interpretation available, and including a minimum safety margin of 15 percent.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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