NTSB: Southwest 737 Nosegear Hit First

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The NTSB Thursday said it had evidence that the nosegear of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 with 150 aboard touched down prior to the mains and collapsed as the jet landed at LaGuardia, July 22. Video "and other sources," the agency said, are consistent with the nosegear making contact prior to the main landing gear. Both the aircraft's voice and flight data recorder have been recovered in good condition, providing two hours of clear audio and information about 1,000 aircraft parameters over 27 hours of operation. 

According to the NTSB, the flaps were moved from 30 to 40 degrees almost one minute prior to touchdown. At 32 feet over the runway, the aircraft was flying at 134 knots with a nose-up pitch of roughly two degrees. Four seconds later, at touchdown, the speed was 133 knots, but the nose had swung to three degrees nose-down. The aircraft's nosegear collapsed on landing and the aircraft came to a stop within 19 seconds. All 150 aboard evacuated, with eight people (three passengers and five crew) accepting treated at local hospitals for injuries related to the landing.