Air/Safety- NTSB: Southwest Flight Landed Nose First- Queens Gazette

Posted: August 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

July 31, 2013

Federal investigators said last week the Southwest Airlines jet that made a hard landing at LaGuardia Airport on July 22 hit the tarmac on its front wheel before the stronger main landing gear in the back of the plane touched down.

The landing described by investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) violated normal procedures outlined by Southwest Airlines and raised questions about the flight’s last moments before touchdown.

Southwest officials said in a statement that the landing, as described the NTSB investigators “was not in accordance with our operating procedures.”

NTSB officials would not say if the investigators’ findings indicated if plot error contributed to the hard landing or if the nose gear should have been able to withstand the impact.

Southwest Flight 345 from Nashville to LaGuardia arrived at the Queens airport at about 5:45 p.m. on July 22, but the plane’s nose gear collapsed “rearward and upward into the fuselage” on landing, damaging the electronics bay as the plane slid almost 2,200 feet before crashing at the right of the runway, NTSB investigators said. The Boeing 737 came to a stop within 19 seconds of touchdown, the investigators said.

The NTSB said surveillance video and other sources were “consistent with the nose gear making contact with the rinway before the main landing gear.”

Eyewitnesses reported hearing the screams of passengers as the plane skidded across LaGuardia Runway 4 on its belly – sparks and flames shooting skyward.

The Eyewitnesses told investigators the landing gear broke on impact. “A tire blew off the plane and flew to the left, and when the nose made impact with the ground sparks flew,” eyewitnesses said.

Law enforcement sources said passengers told investigators, “There was a ig ‘bump,’ like the plane hit a wall. People screamed and cell phones – everything went flying. The oxygen masks fell from their compartments and nobody knew what was happening.”

Southwest Airlines Flight 345 from Nashville was due to land at LaGuardia at about 6 p.m. with 149 passengers and crewmembers on board when the nose crashed on the runway, authorities said.

Emergency responders at the Port Authority Rescue Firefighting Unit rushed to the plane immediately after impact ad escorted passengers from the chutes to a secured section of the airport, authorities said.

There were no serious injuries, but 12 people were hospitalized after they escaped the smoke filled plane on emergency chutes that opened on impact. Four passengers were treated at the scene and at least a dozen were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center with injuries described as non-serious.

LaGuardia general manager Tom Bosco said there was no indication of a problem with the nose gear before landing. “There were no radio calls saying the landing gear was not working,” Bosco told reporters.

According to published reports, a passenger on board Flight 345 told authorities that the flight was delayed leaving Nashville due to a problem with one of the tires.

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines would not comment on the report and said the airline investigators are in the process of determining the cause of the collapse.

via NTSB: Southwest Flight Landed Nose First | www.qgazette.com | Queens Gazette.

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