Event Details


Title:Descent Below Visual Glidepath and Collision with Terrain, Delta Air Lines Flight 554, McDonnell Douglas MD-88, N914DL, LaGuardia Airport, New York October 19, 1996
Micro summary:This McDonnell Douglas MD-88 descended beneath glide slope and underran the runway.
Event Time:1996-10-19 at 1638 EDT
File Name:1996-10-19-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB/AAR-97/03
Pages:180
Site of event:Landing LGA RWY 13
Latitude/Longitude:N4046'94", W7352'73"
Departure:William B. Hartsfield International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Destination:LaGuardia Airport, New York, New York, USA
Airplane Type(s):McDonnell Douglas DC-9-88 (MD-88)
Flight Phase:Landing
Registration(s):N914DL
Operator(s):Delta Air Lines
Type of flight:Revenue
Occupants:63
Fatalities:0
Serious Injuries:3
Minor/Non-Injured:60
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:Abstract: This report explains the descent below visual glidepath and collision with terrain of Delta Air Lines flight 554 at LaGuardia Airport on October 19, 1996. The safety issues in this report focused on the possible hazards of monovision contact lenses, visual illusions encountered during the approach, non-instantaneous vertical speed information, the weather conditions encountered during the approach, the guidance in air carrier's manuals regarding flightcrew member duties, the stabilized approach criteria in air carrier's manuals, emergency evacuation procedures, special airport criteria and designation, and LaGuardia Airport issues/runway light spacing. Safety recommendations concerning these issues were addressed to the Federal Aviation Administration and to optometric associations.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY About 1638 eastern daylight time, on October 19, 1996, a McDonnell Douglas MD-88, N914DL, operated by Delta Air Lines, Inc., as flight 554, struck the approach light structure and the end of the runway deck during the approach to land on runway 13 at the LaGuardia Airport, in Flushing, New York. Flight 554 was being operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 121, as a scheduled, domestic passenger flight from Atlanta, Georgia, to Flushing. The flight departed the William B. Hartsfield International Airport at Atlanta, Georgia, about 1441, with two flightcrew members, three flight attendants, and 58 passengers on board. Three passengers reported minor injuries; no injuries were reported by the remaining 60 occupants. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the lower fuselage, wings (including slats and flaps), main landing gear, and both engines. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the approach to runway 13; flight 554 was operating on an instrument flight rules flight plan.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the inability of the captain, because of his use of monovision contact lenses, to overcome his misperception of the airplane's position relative to the runway during the visual portion of the approach. This misperception occurred because of visual illusions produced by the approach over water in limited light conditions, the absence of visible ground features, the rain and fog, and the irregular spacing of the runway lights.

Contributing to the accident was the lack of instantaneous vertical speed information available to the pilot not flying, and the incomplete guidance available to optometrists, aviation medical examiners, and pilots regarding the prescription of unapproved monovision contact lenses for use by pilots.

The safety issues in this report focused on the possible hazards of monovision contact lenses, visual illusions encountered during the approach, non-instantaneous vertical speed information, the weather conditions encountered during the approach, the guidance in air carrier's manuals regarding flightcrew member duties, the stabilized approach criteria in air carrier's manuals, emergency evacuation procedures, special airport criteria and designation, and LaGuardia Airport issues/runway light spacing.

Safety recommendations concerning these issues were addressed to the Federal Aviation Administration and to optometric associations.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Airport Markings or Lighting
Operations - Evacuation
Operations - Runway Underrun
Operations - Unstabilized Approach
Operations - Whiteout or Poor Visibility from Cockpit
Other - Post-Crash Survivability
Consequence - Hull Loss

 




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