Southwest plane hit on its front landing gear, NTSB says

NEW YORK Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:47pm EDT

A Southwest Boeing 737 aeroplane sits on the tarmac after passengers were evacuated, at LaGuardia Airport in New York, in this photo courtesy of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made available July 23, 2013. REUTERS/NTSB/Handout via Reuters

A Southwest Boeing 737 aeroplane sits on the tarmac after passengers were evacuated, at LaGuardia Airport in New York, in this photo courtesy of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made available July 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/NTSB/Handout via Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. safety investigators said on Thursday that a Southwest Airlines jetliner that crashed at LaGuardia Airport in New York on Monday landed on its front landing gear before its main landing gear touched down on the runway, a landing Southwest said was "not in accordance with our operating procedures."

The National Transportation Safety Board said the Boeing 737 aircraft was pitched downward at a three degree angle when it landed. The front landing gear subsequently collapsed and the plane slid for 19 seconds before coming to rest, injuring nine people, the NTSB said.

Boeing said the plane is designed to take the force of the touchdown on its main landing gear in the middle of the plane, and then touch down on its front landing gear. The company declined to comment further, citing rules on an active NTSB investigation.

The NTSB also said the plane was traveling at about 133 knots, or nautical miles per hour, when it landed, a speed that appeared to be consistent with normal landing, industry experts said. The NTSB said it will transcribe relevant portions of the cockpit voice record on Friday.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott and Karen Jacobs; Editing by Gary Hill and Steve Orlofsky)

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Comments (1)
SKYDRIFTER wrote:
Wow! That was tough to do.

A nose-down deck angle of three degrees upon the nose wheel touching down, at 133 Knots, suggests an abrupt and desperate attempt to ‘make’ the landing – so as to avert a go-around. (Gotta ‘make schedule,’ ya know?)

It will be interesting to see how far down the runway the impact took place. Possibly, (“possibly”) they were “… floating in ground-effect” with excess airspeed, which was carrying them abnormally past the touchdown zone.

You could charge admission to the first playback of the cockpit voice recorder!

Any pilot/cabin crew/passenger “spinal compression fractures?”

I’m curious as to how much damage was done to the fuselage; aft of the cockpit. It’s possible for the implied force of the impact (as described) to ‘bend’ the fuselage – possibly to the extent of a “total loss” (cheaper to replace, than repair).

BUT, politics will be a major part of the matter. By any reasonable expectation, the NTSB should have been the third or fourth party to the scene. According to previous news accounts, the NTSB was slow to take an interest.

At least there were no fatalities.

Jul 25, 2013 11:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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