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    « New Jersey Pilot Kills Himself and Son in Predictable Plane Crash | Main | Amazon Kindle Survey of Pilot Aviation Uses for this E-book Reader »


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    Patrick Flannigan

    As you pointed out, just a few knots of tailwind can add a lot to the landing distance. Add in a wet runway and long landing and you just might have a problem.

    What I'm particularly curious about is just how far down the runway did the airplane land. Anything within the first 1500-3000 feet is considered the touchdown zone by many air carriers, which is considered "OK".

    Another key point is to determine the airplane's max tailwind for landing.

    Violation of limitations/procedures = bad news for the pilots. Crashing "by the book" and perfectly legally = changes and shakeups to established procedures.

    Let the blame game commence. I just hope I never get myself in a predicament like this.



    There is no ILS on Runway 30, but there is on Runway 12. I am not sure if there are any approaches to Runway 30 that would fit AA's guidelines, along with the weather at the time (there is a GNSS approach but I understand many of those aren't appropriate for transport category jets). Certainly a "circling approach" is not considered very safe for a transport category jets either, even if the ceiling and visibility was high enough to allow that. The minimum safe altitude is very high in the area due to nearby mountains. So I don't think it's necessarily fair to say the decision to land on runway 12 has anything to do with taxi times - I think it means that it was likely considered the safest approach due to the ILS.

    Max Trescott

    Patrick, as you know, all pilots make mistakes. I agree, I hope ours remain comparatively small. And if they don't, well I hope others learn from our mistakes.

    Jeremy, you raise excellent points. Since many commercial jets aren't equipped with WAAS-capable GPS receivers, flying an ILS--even with a tailwind--makes perfect sense. In my new Max Trescott's GPS and WAAS Instrument Flying Handbook I devoted a full page to the July 26, 2002 crash of a 727 at Tallahassee which destroyed the plane. The crew discussed for more than 12 minutes whether to land at night with a slight tailwind to the ILS rwy 27 or to do a visual to rwy 9. They eventually chose 9, descended below the VASI and crashed on short final.

    I do wonder if AA 331 either landed fast and/or long.

    Phil Knox

    I am an aircraft spotter and not so frequent flier...however...I can honestly say that 99% of flights I have witnessed landing or taking off at Dorval do so INTO the wind!

    If such a downwind landing was attempted, isn't there an inherent risk vis a vis wind shear and variants in wind velocity which could lead to a longer touchdown point on the runway?

    Why is there no ILS for runway 30?

    Another point...wouldn't Kingston approach set the parameters for landings? Can a flight crew override the tower when it comes to landing procedures at a particular time?

    The prevailing wind at Kingston is from the east (runway 12 would be the preferred one for the majority of landings and takeoffs) but on the night in question...the wind must have been locally from the west due to thunder clouds. Too bad!

    Lots of questions...only one response! Pilot error or landing facility inadequacy?

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