NTSB Blames Crew In Pence Overrun Incident

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“Several failures in close succession” by a jet’s flight crew were the probable cause of a runway excursion at LaGuardia Airport last October, according to the NTSB’s final report, issued Thursday. The Eastern Air Lines Boeing 737-700, a chartered flight carrying then-vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence and campaign staff, overran Runway 22 during landing. The airplane departed the runway and partially transited an arrester bed of crushable concrete before coming to a stop about 170 feet past the end of the runway. None of the 11 crewmembers or 37 passengers were hurt in the incident. The plane sustained minor damage. The NTSB said when the first officer, who was at the controls, failed to get the jet’s wheels on the ground within the first third of the runway, or 2,300 feet, he should have executed a go-around instead of continuing the landing attempt. 

Then, during the landing roll, contrary to procedures, the captain didn’t announce he was assuming control of the airplane, which resulted in each pilot attempting directional inputs that were at odds with the other. This breakdown of basic crew resource management, along with the captain’s failure to call for a go-around, demonstrated “a lack of command authority,” the NTSB said. Other pilot actions, including starting the flare at an altitude almost twice as high as Boeing recommends, delays in reducing throttles and manually deploying the speed brakes, also contributed to the excursion, the NTSB said. Eastern Air Lines management told the NTSB it has developed specific flight crew training to address the safety issues identified during the investigation.

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