Federal accident investigators are urging commercial jet manufacturers and U.S. aviation regulators to do more to prevent airplanes from sliding off slippery runways during landing.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued its recommendations Tuesday in response to the March 2015 crash of a Delta Airlines jet at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. In that incident, the airplane – a McDonnell Douglas MD-88 jet carrying 132 people – veered off a snowy runway and skidded thousands of feet before plowing into an embankment.
NTSB investigators concluded the probable cause of the crash of Delta Flight 1086 from Atlanta was pilot error but reiterated previous recommendations that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issue stricter landing rules for certain passenger jet models, and manufacturers to develop new technology that can better guide pilots landing in potentially dangerous conditions.
The safety board, which can only inform aviation policy but not change or enforce it, issued a similar call year ago, but its recommendations went unheeded by U.S. aviation regulators and aircraft makers. After the Delta 1086 crash, NTSB classifies the response to its recommendations as “unacceptable.”
According to the NTSB report, the current system centers on pilots sharing reports of runway conditions via radio transmission – a method the board says is too subjective and lags behind the actual quickly changing ground conditions.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Airbus Group SE and European regulators have taken an approach more in line with the NTSB’s recommendations:
“Starting seven years ago, European Airbus has focused on marketing a proprietary system, now installed on about 430 airliners, that automatically assesses speed, altitude, flight-control settings and other variables eight times a second to provide cockpit warnings that a plane won’t be able to stop safely on a runway,” WSJ reported.
Boeing, based in Chicago, has been working on a number of voluntary approaches to improving safety but isn’t in line with developing new cockpit warning systems like Airbus and EU regulators support.
Source: Wall Street Journal