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By now, you have probably heard about the March 5th accident at New York’s LaGuardia airport involving Delta 1086, a flight originating in Atlanta. Just after 11 A.M. the Boeing MD-88 was on final approach to runway 13, and was advised of two previous braking action reports of “good” from two prior arrivals, a Canadair Regional Jet and an Airbus 319. On touchdown, Delta 1086 drifted left and departed the runway, coming to rest on a berm near Flushing Bay after crashing through the perimeter fencing.
Fortunately, of the 127 passengers and five crewmembers, only 23 passengers received minor injuries, but what remains to be seen is what caused the crash in the first place. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has paired with the FBI to conduct an accident investigation, forming several groups that will focus on operations and human performance factors, airworthiness, maintenance history of the jet, airport issues, and data recorders.
After interviewing the flight’s crew, the Operations and Human Performance investigation group learned that the crew based their decision to land on the previous braking action reports. The crew reported that the spoilers did not deploy automatically, but the first officer was able to deploy them manually. One particularly concerning discovery from the interview involved the aircraft’s auto brakes, which were set to “max” but failed to have any effect on slowing the plane. The maintenance and airworthiness groups are continuing their investigation into the aircraft’s braking, antiskid, and thrust reverser systems.
The NTSB is continuing its accident investigation, and while Delta is unable to comment on the investigation, the airline has refunded each of the passengers involved in the crash. The aviation accident attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten continue to follow this story, and commend the Delta crew for evacuating passengers in a swift, safe manner.