Leading Edge, pilot safety newsletter, Winter 2010

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  • 1. The LEading EdgE A Comair Central Air Safety Winter 2010 Committee Publication How to Assess As airline pilots, all of us have made hundreds of landings and have an Your Landing intuitive understanding of how much runway it takes to stop an Distance in airplane. On a nice day, we always have enough pavement for comfort. Bad Weather But what happens when it’s a snowy night with a 5-knot tailwind and a braking action report of poor by the By Dean Weaver CRJ50 First Officer previous aircraft? Suddenly, 6,000 feet of runway may not seem so long.F our U.S. airline crews have 2. actual landing distance is a To answer this, you must first de- slid off runways when land- number provided by Bombardier termine where the aircraft’s main ing during the past five years. engineers and is printed in the wheels touch the runway. Each overrun occurred on a performance chapter of Comair’srunway longer than 6,000 ft. Four of AeroData’s TLR report assumes the Flight Standards Manual.the five occurred in snowy condi- CRJ100/200, 700, and 900 series 3. dispatch landing length is a aircraft will touch down at 1,560 ft.tions, and four of the five overruns number used by airline dispatch-occurred at night. These accidents past the runway threshold. On a pre- ers to determine if it is legal to cision instrument approach runway,reveal that even experienced pilots send an aircraft to a particularcan miscalculate the distances this is on the first distance marker airport based on the forecast past the large solid white aim pointneeded to stop in adverse weather. weather conditions at the flight’s markers (see Figure 2).Comair, the airline industry, and the estimated time of arrival.Federal Aviation Administration have None of these landing-length num- If you fail to touch down at 1,560 ft.,taken a hard look at why runway bers are the same, although all are it will be very difficult to stop in theoverruns occur. New guidelines have calculated by assuming the aircraft is distance depicted in the TLR.been implemented so pilots have 50 ft. above the landing threshold atmore information on the flight deck Vref. Each number also accounts for Please see landing distanceto determine if they have enough wet or contaminated surfaces. page 2 runway length to stop their aircraft. This article will provide you with theBut despite these efforts, it is stilleasy to get confused about landing- tools to sift through the various charts, tables, and manuals to InsIDe…length numbers. Comair must cal- answer the critical question: 1 How to Assess Your Landingculate three different landing-lengthnumbers on every flight. do i have enough pave- Distance in Bad Weather ment to stop my air-1. aerodata’s takeoff and land- plane on this runway 4 Recent U.S. Airline ing Report provides a landing with the current Overrun Landing Accidents distance from threshold number. weather and This number is printed on the bot- runway condi- 5 Factors Affecting Landing Distance tom of the dispatch release. tions? 7 Aviation Safety Action Program Update
  • 2. landing distance Continued from page 1 TOUCHDOWN ZONE Aircraft crosses the runway threshold 3000 FT. at 50 ft. above the ground at Vref 1,000 FT. TOUCHDOWN − Touchdown for actual landing distance calculation 1,560 FT. TOUCHDOWN – Touchdown points for TLR landing distance calculation (accounts for are at landing) To arrive at this touchdown point aircraft how to calculate landing Standards Manual. This number is calculation, Comair check airmen distances and what techniques pilots calculated differently than the TLR evaluated hundreds of flights dur- should use to land in the shortest number in two significant ways. ing line checks and watched aircraft possible distance. 1. The Actual Landing Distance number land from control towers in CVG and The FAA is urging all air carriers is derived from Bombardier test LGA. The average touchdown point to base the new landing-distance pilots flying new aircraft. To cer- from those landings was 1,560 feet numbers on a realistic touchdown tify the CRJ under Part 25 Federal for all Comair aircraft. This number point and add a 15 percent safety Aviation Regulations, Bombardier’s was given to AeroData. It is used buffer. These landing-length num- pilots were able to touchdown firmly as a baseline for calculating landing bers give pilots a more realistic idea at exactly 1,000 ft. from the runway length on every TLR. AeroData then of how much runway they need to threshold and apply maximum brak- applies a 15 percent buffer to the stop. However, the FAA still requires ing to stop in the stated distance. total landing distance. operators to provide Actual Land- The 1,000 ft. touchdown is for dry These numbers can be corrected for ing Distance numbers to pilots so a and wet landing numbers. Contami- wind, no thrust reversers, and wet or suitable runway isn’t overflown in the nated runways assume a touchdown contaminated runway surfaces. They event of a time-critical emergency. at 1,500 ft. assume maximum use of reverse 2. The Actual Landing Distance number Comair’s Actual Landing Distance thrust (if available/utilized) numbers are shorter than AeroData’s does not have a 15 percent safety and maximum braking to achieve TLR landing numbers and can still Please see landing distance the stopping distance. Knowing this, be found in Volume I of the Flight page 3  you can calculate your own personal landing distance minimums based on LEading EdgE where you typically touch down. The The TLR landing numbers were generated by Comair as a result of The Leading Edge is a quarterly publication produced by volunteer Comair pilots SAFO 06012. The Safety Alert for who are members of ALPA’s Central Air Safety Committee. The goal of the commit- Operators was issued by the FAA on tee is to promote and enhance safety at Comair. August 31, 2006, after the Southwest Mail inquiries to: Airlines overrun at MDW airport. It Comair MEC Editor: Dean Weaver requests all air carriers re-evaluate Attn: Leading Edge E-mail: Dean.Weaver@alpa.org the landing-distance numbers they 3490 Olympic Blvd., Suite 120 provide to pilots. Advisory Circular Erlanger, KY 41018 91–79 issued November 6, 2007, Please share any ideas, questions, or comments you have with us. tells operators of all turbine-powered2 ThE LEading EdgE
  • 3. landing distanceContinued from page 2 TOUCHDOWN – 1,000 ft. from threshold Touchdown point for calculating Actual Landing Distance dry/wet buffer added to total landing dis- tance. It is the absolute minimum stopping distance with a test pilot at 36 the controls of a new aircraft.Comair asks pilots to apply QuickReference Handbook (QRH) land-ing corrections to the Actual Land- TOUCHDOWN – 1,560 ft. from threshold Touchdown point for calculating RUNWAY TOUCHDOWN ZONEing Distance number, not the TLR TLR Landing Distance Every 500 ft.number. For example: An anti-skidinboard and outboard failure occurs,so the QRH applies a 75 percentaddition to landing distance. Thiscorrection must be added to theActual Landing Distance in the FSM, Figure 2: On a runway with presicision instrument markings the ILS glideslope intersectsnot the TLR landing distance. the runway at 1,000 feet, which is the beginning of the aim point markings. Comair’s landing distance numbers depicted on AeroData’s TLR add 560 feet to account for the flare so theDispatchers use a third landing touchdown point is 1,560 feet from the threshold.number when determining if a flightis legal to depart to an airport. Aword of warning, the Dispatch Land- When en route, it is up to you as the In an emergency or aircraft sys-ing Field Length number is based on pilot to determine the landing dis- tem malfunction, the QRH correc-the longest suitable runway at the tance needed to stop your aircraft. tions must be added to the Actualairport, which may not be the landing The TLR provides the most realistic Landing Distance numbers, givingrunway at the time of arrival. landing-distance numbers you can you a best-case landing perfor- expect as long as you touch down mance number for landing assess-Dispatch Landing Field Length is a ment. The corrections are addedpre-departure requirement based on to the shorter Actual LandingFederal Aviation Regulation 121.195 Recent history has Distance number so a crew will notand 121.197. It states that a tur- rule out a nearby runway during abine- powered transport category shown that the best time-critical emergency in searchaircraft must land and come to a full of a longer landing strip. If timestop within 60 percent of the effec- way to keep your permits, you may want to considertive runway length. You can divide applying these QRH corrections tothe Actual Landing Distance number aircraft out of the the TLR number to get a picture(dry runway) in the Flight Standards dirt is to take a few of landing length required in a lessManual for the aircraft’s weight by than best case landing.0.6 to get the Dispatch Landing minutes to conduct Recent history has shown that theField Length. a thorough landing- best way to keep your aircraft outFor example: The Actual Landing-Dis- of the dirt is to take a few minutestance is 3,800 ft. 3,800/0.6 = 6,333 distance assessment to conduct a thorough landing-ft. So, a suitable runway of 6,333 ft. is distance assessment using therequired for at least one runway at the using the most recent most recent runway conditions.destination airport. runway conditions. The second best way to prevent an overrun is to touch down withinAn additional 15 percent is added the first 1,560 ft., since that is theto the dry Dispatch Landing Length at least 1,560 ft. from the threshold touchdown point the TLR numbersfor a wet runway or low visibility and and use maximum reverse thrust are predicated upon. another 15 percent for a wet runwayand low visibility. These Dispatch and braking. Make sure you use theLanding Length numbers are depict- correct TLR numbers for the runwayed in a table in the Flight Standards surface, i.e., wet or contaminated,Manual, but are only pertinent when and correct for a tailwind.dispatching an aircraft.Winter 2010 3
  • 4. southwest Flight 1248 Recent dec. 8, 2005 (7:14 p.m.) The crew of Southwest Flight 1248 from Baltimore- Washington International Airport (BWI) to Chicago Midway Airport (MDW) at- U.s. Airline Overrun Landing tempted to land on Runway 31C measuring 6,522 ft. in length. The weather before landing was reported at a 1/2 statute mile with snow, freezing Accidents fog, and a broken ceiling of 400 ft. Wind was 090 at 11 knots (an 8-knot tailwind). Braking action was reported good for the first half of the runway and poor the second half. Runway 31C was the only runway available to landing aircraft due to approach minimums and weather. The Boeing 737 touchdown was 1,250 ft. beyond runway threshold. The captain had difficulty unlocking the thrust reversers, and they were not fully deployed until 15 sec- Pinnacle Airlines onds after touchdown. The aircraft rolled through a blast fence and perimeter fence, and onto a roadway. A 6-year-old boy in one of the vehicles struck by the aircraft Flight 4712 died. The five crewmembers, along with the 98 passengers, survived; 18 were injured. april 12, 2007 (12:43 a.m.) Probable cause: The NTSB determined the probable cause was the pilots’ The crew of Pinnacle Airlines Flight failure to use reverse thrust in a timely manner. A contributing factor was the delay 4712 operating as Northwest Airlink in reverse thrust due to confusion over the autobrake system. Southwest’s failure from Minneapolis–St. Paul Inter- to provide its crews with procedures for calculating landing distances that would national Airport (MSP) to Traverse provide for a margin of safety was also a factor. City–Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) at- tempted to land a CRJ 200 on Runway 28, measuring 6,501 in length. The wind was 020 at 8 knots (an 8-knot shuttle America crosswind). The ASOS reported visibility of 1/4 Flight 6448 mile with heavy snow, Feb. 18, 2007 (3:06 p.m.) The crew of vertical visibility of 200 Shuttle America Flight 6448 operating as ft., three minutes prior Delta Connection from Atlanta Hartsfield- to the accident. Airport Jackson International Airport (ATL) to personnel told the crew Cleveland Hopkins International Airport they estimated a 1/2 (CLE) attempted to land on Runway 28 inch of snow on the run- measuring 6,017 ft. in length. way prior to landing. The Pinnacle Airlines Flight 4712 comes to rest at the end of Runway 28 at Traverse City–Cherry aircraft touchdown occurred 2,400 The RVR for Runway 28 was reported at Capital Airport on April 12, 2007. Photo taken ft. beyond the threshold. The CRJ 6,000 ft. with a braking action of fair. Winds by the NTSB, courtesy of the Flight Safety came to rest 100 ft. beyond the end were 310 at 12 knots (an Foundation. of the pavement after the nosewheel 11 knot crosswind). The separated from the airplane. There glideslope was reported were no injuries to the 49 passen- unusable. Once inside gers, three lap children, and three the final approach fix, the crewmembers. RVR decreased to 2,200 ft. The crew encountered Probable cause: The NTSB deter- strong, gusty winds dur- mined the pilots failed to perform a ing the flare and touch- landing distance assessment tak- down and reported losing ing into account the contaminated sight of the runway 30 runway conditions. Pilot fatigue was a feet before touchdown. contributing factor. The aircraft touchdown was 2,900 ft. beyond Shuttle America Flight 6448, an Embraer 170, slides through a perimeter fence off runway threshold. Despite the use of the end of Runway 28 at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport on Feb. 18, 2007. maximum reverse thrust and braking, the Photo taken by the NTSB, courtesy of the Flight Safety Foundation Embraer 170 came to a stop 150 ft. past the end of the runway in the snow-covered grass. All four crewmembers and 71 pas- sengers survived, with three minor injuries American Airlines Flight 331 reported. dec. 22, 2009 (10:22 p.m.) The crew of American Airlines Flight 331 from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Kingston–Norman Manley International Probable cause: The NTSB determined Airport (KIN) attempted to land on Runway 12 measuring 8,900 ft. The pre- that the crew should have executed a missed approach when visual cues to the liminary investigation shows the Boeing 737 touchdown was 4,100 ft. from the runway were not distinct and identifiable. threshold with a 14-knot tailwind. The aircraft skidded across a road and slid to a Contributing factors were the long landing stop on the beach with the fuselage cracked and right engine ripped off. Heavy and the decision to use ILS versus local- rain showers were reported at the airport before the accident, which is under izer minimums, along with pilot fatigue. investigation. The six crewmembers and 148 passengers survived the accident. Probable cause: To be determined.4 ThE LEading EdgE
  • 5. FactorsAffectingLandingDistanceBy Dean WeaverCRJ50 First Officer Photo Credit: Bruce Leibowitz, Airliners.netThe two pilot-controlled A Comair crew lands on a wet Runway 27 at South Bend Regional Airport on August 17, 2004.factors that contribute the The top reasons for Combine the stopping distance andmost to landing distance float from the 5 knots of additionalare excess airspeed and an overruns are things that airspeed, and total landing distance increases by 1,500 ft above theextended flare. pilots control: published number. Add snow or a 1. Failing to go-around when vis- tailwind into the equation, and land-Bleed off 5 knots of excess airspeed ibility is lost or the approach is ing technique may double what thein an extended flare, and the aircraft unstabilized aircraft manufacturer considers to becan easily float to the end of the the actual landing distance on wet or 2. Landing long3,000 ft. touchdown zone, according contaminated surfaces.to data supplied by Federal Aviation 3. Ineffective braking, especiallyAdministration Advisory Circular when landing on a contaminated The amount of flare and excess91–79. runway airspeed are the biggest factors These findings come from the Flight when it comes to piloting techniqueMaking a landing assessment is criti- to achieve the published landing- Safety Foundation, a nonprofit avia-cal when runway surfaces conditions distance numbers, but there are other tion organization in Alexandria, VA,get slippery. These calculations must conditions to consider. Some other that analyzed 1,429 commercialinclude aircraft weight, airport winds, factors include: turbojet and turboprop landing excur-and type of runway contamination. sions that occurred worldwide from Wind: A 5 kt. tailwind can add 450But this is not enough to prevent an 1995 to 2008. ft. to the actual landing distance onaccident. Ultimately, stopping the dry pavement, according to Comair’s The foundation discovered that excur-aircraft within a published landing dis- Flight Standards Manual. But that 5 sion accidents are 40 times moretance comes down to pilot technique. kt. tailwind adds 800 ft. when the run- likely to occur than runway incursion“I would have to say that 95 percent accidents. It defines a runway excur- way is contaminated with loose snow.of the runway excursions we’ve stud- sion as any time an aircraft leaves the A crosswind adds distance to a land-ied have involved incidents where the runway on either takeoff or landing. ing since it requires the pilot to ex-numbers would have told the pilots tend the flare by a couple of seconds AC 91–79 urges all turbine pilots tothat landing on the runway would to remove the crab and lower the maintain a stabilized approach and re-not be a problem,” said Jim Burin, wing. The advisory circular estimates alize that landing technique plays a vi-director of Technical Programs for the that this can add 460 ft. to landing tal part in preventing runway overruns.Flight Safety Foundation. “But those distance. A pilot who adds just 5 knots to Vrefnumbers don’t always help pilots for gusty winds may add up to 250make sense of really important things threshold crossing Height: feet to the stopping distance on a wetlike touchdown point and aircraft Being 50 ft. high over the runway runway, according to the advisory cir-speed. The numbers are only accurate threshold (100 ft. AGL) will add ap- cular. And if the pilot bleeds off thoseif you use actual runway conditions at proximately 1,000 ft. to total landing 5 knots of airspeed in the flare prior tothe time of landing.” touchdown, the landing distance swells by an additional 1,250 ft. Please see Factors affecting landing distance page 6 Winter 2010 5
  • 6. FactORs aFFecting landing distance Continued from page 5 distance for all turbine powered air- Taking into account the aircraft craft, according to the Flight Safety weight, wind, and runway surface Foundation’s Approach and Landing condition in a landing assessment is Accident Reduction Task Force. the first step in determining if there is enough runway to stop. Ask the tow- the Flight safety Runway slope: Each one degree of er for recent braking action reports. Foundation issued a runway down slope adds 10 percent Review AeroData’s Takeoff and Land- report in May 2009 to the total landing distance. Runway ing Report and estimate where you identifying runway slope numbers can be found on the believe the aircraft will touch down incursions as one of back of Jeppesen’s airport diagrams. based on current wind conditions and the top safety threats glidepath angle: Trying to sneak your own landing technique. to commercial aviation the airplane in beneath the glideslope If you believe it is unlikely the worldwide. can actually increase landing dis- wheels will make contact with the tance. When flying a shallower glide- They recommend the following runway before 1,560 ft., then add strategies to prevent overruns: path with additional power, landing a buffer to your landing distance distance grows. The FAA states that calculations. All TLR landing-length 1. Use a runway with an ILS or flying a two-degree glidepath instead numbers are predicated upon a precision approach path guidance of a three-degree glidepath will add to greatly reduce the risk of an 1,560 ft. touchdown point.  overrun. about 500 ft. to the landing distance. 2. Obtain a timely report of the run- way surface condition and current winds at the airport. Falling snow can turn a good braking action the Faa recommends the report to poor in less than 15 minutes. Be wary of landing with following techniques to bring any tailwind. an aircraft to a stop quickly 3. Consider all landing factors, includ- ing temperature, pressure, wind, runway contamination, runway 1. Stabilize the approach at 1,000 ft. above the touchdown zone slope, and aircraft landing weight in your distance calculation. height. Maintain a three-degree glideslope with an optimal sink rate of 500 to 700 fpm not to exceed 1,000 fpm. 4. Good Crew Resource Manage- ment is essential. Follow stan- 2. Cross the threshold at 50 ft. and at Vref, if possible. dard operating procedure; give a complete approach and go-around 3. Do not delay reducing thrust after crossing the threshold. briefing early during the arrival process. Complete all checklists 4. Land as flat as possible, being careful not to extend the flare. in a timely fashion, and keep distractions to a minimum on the 5. Promptly bring the nosewheel to the ground after the mains flight deck. touch down. 5. Give yourself a safety margin 6. Immediately apply maximum braking and allow the aircraft’s when considering landing distance. anti-skid to do its job. Maximize use of reverse thrust as soon 6. Do not expedite the landing by as all wheels are on the ground, being careful to maintain accepting a visual approach, directional control. especially at night or at unfamiliar airports. Always do the ILS ap- proach if available, and make sure the approach is stabilized 1,000 ft. prior to touchdown. Go-around if the approach is not stabilized. 7. In some cases, it may be prudent to delay the landing by a few minutes to allow airport ground crews time to inspect or clear the runway, or provide you with a cur- rent runway surface report.6 ThE LEading EdgE
  • 7. Aviation safety Action ProgramThe Event ReviewCommittee, made upof Comair’s CorporateFlight Safety Office, theFAA, and ALPA Safety Update 3. Follow the new checklist and brief every taxi for both departure and landing. Make sure both pilots agree with, and understand, the clearance after it is given. The route you have been cleared on may be very different from whatCommittee, has been Runway Incursions you expected when you gave your Five runway incursions have been re- initial briefing.tracking the following ported to ASAP since October. In twosafety trends: of these incursions, there was a loss Altimeter errors/Crossing of separation, and pilot deviations were filed against the crews. We have RestrictionsRushing seen some common trends in these WARNING: The “Altimeters” cross-Please slow down. The majority runway incursions: check on the new Arrival Checklistof ASAP reports have shown that may not be read until the crew ismistakes occur when crews get in 1. The first officer is often heads- descending through 10,000 ft. Thea hurry to complete tasks. It is the down, completing checklists. cross-check has been moved to themost common factor in reports and Prior to Approach portion of the 2. The first officer is on the number Arrival Checklist. This checklist maytherefore the biggest safety threat at 2 radio talking to the gate or ramp not be completed until only 30 milesComair. Pilots must take their time while the captain is listening to the from the airport.and be methodical, especially with number 1 radio.the new checklists. Crews need to be extra diligent about We are asking all crews to recognizeFatigue Calls that any taxi can become high-threat cross-checking the altimeters when descending through 18,000 ft. andWe have seen a rise in fatigue calls, when the first officer is heads-down to make sure the correct setting isand we strongly urge pilots to call the completing checklists or using the verified by both pilots. Waiting for theASAP Safety Hotline within 24 hours number 2 radio. checklist item to be read may put bothof a fatigue call. Making this call to reduce the risk of a runway pilots at risk of an altitude deviation.gives a pilot five days to file an ASAPcomputer report. incursion: Altimeters are being set to the wrong 1. NEVER accept a clearance to number when descending throughSafety is data-driven. ASAP allows cross a runway or hold on a run- Flight Level 180. Sometimes it is aus to track safety threats and trends. way unless both crewmembers wrong setting like 29.35 vs. 30.35,We realize how fatiguing it is to have hear the original clearance. If or it is leveling off at FL 180 andless than eight hours behind a hotel unsure, ask ATC to read back the pushing the Barometric Altimeterdoor and then report to the gate 30 clearance. button prematurely, locking in theminutes before departure. The Com- 29.92 setting. Both crewmemberspany also is scheduling airport breaks 2. Brief the first officer before landing should verbalize the altimeter settingin excess of five hours after short to “hold all checklists until nearby to verify the number when descend-overnights. Please file an ASAP so runways are crossed.” There ing through FL 180. If unsure, querywe can identify why pilot rest is being shouldn’t be any hurry to recon- Air Traffic Control before descendingcompromised—it is up to each pilot figure the aircraft after landing if through FL 180.to assess his or her fitness to fly, andbeing well-rested is part of being fit. there are nearby runways to cross.ImPortAnt ASAP Hotline 1-866-274-7088 ASAP (Call within 24 hours at the end of the duty day) Info: Electronic reports are submitted to: www.comairsafety.comWinter 2010 7