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2009 AA crash report makes safety recommendations

Wednesday, May 07, 2014    

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THE Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) has made a number of recommendations for airport safety in its final report of the investigation into the December 22, 2009 American Airlines (AA) 331 crash at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

Among the recommendations in the 297-page report, released yesterday, were:

* Flight controllers undergo recurrent training and proficiency checks;

* The grooving of the runway to increase tyre traction in adverse weather conditions;

* The streamlining of definitions concerning runway condition; and

* American Airlines should immediately instruct their flight crews that if they use an "advance analysis" technique to assess landing performance, they should take all factors into account, including runway surface condition, recommended aircraft configuration, and use of recommended deceleration techniques.

The report recommended that if flight crews do not use an "advance analysis", they should be instructed to perform, when required, the landing performance assessment prescribed in AA Bulletin 737-07, prior to landing.

Said the report: "AA should immediately ensure that their flight crews understand that a runway described as 'wet' by [Air Traffic Control] in overseas locations does not necessarily signify that the runway surface is in a condition equivalent to AA landing data card 'Wet/Good'."

In addition, the report said the JCAA and Jamaica Air Traffic Services (ATS) should clearly define the circumstances under which air traffic controllers inform aerodrome authorities of conditions associated with inclement weather, so that the aerodrome authorities conduct runway surface inspections and provide the results of these inspections to ATS units.

"... Air traffic controllers should undergo awareness training of performance-based navigation procedures, including area navigation," added the report.

According to a press release that accompanied the release of the report, the safety recommendations were being implemented.

The Boeing 737-800 aircraft, operated by American Airlines as Flight AA331, which had arrived in the island from Miami, crashed after it overran the runway.

"It landed at approximately 10:22 pm, on runway 12 in heavy rain, with a 14-knot tailwind component. The aircraft touched down long at 4,100 feet, and ran off the end of the runway, at a speed of 62 knots," said the report.

There were no fatalities, but a number of passengers suffered injuries.

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