After it nearly hit icy waters on Thursday, March 5, The Delta Jet that slipped at LaGuardia Airport was removed and runways are open once again.
The plane skidded off the runway, went through a chain-link fence but luckily stopped just a few feet from the water. This happened just minutes after the runway had been cleared of snow.
According to Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which also runs the airport, two other pilots had reported appropriate braking conditions. He added that the pilot flying the Delta Jet did everything he could to slow the plane down in order to land safely.
There was heavy snowfall that day, which reduced visibility to a quarter of a mile. The weather conditions were worsened even more by intense winds, blowing at 9mph.
The incident proved once again that the runways at LaGuardia Airport are too short to allow a stress-free landing. Its close location to open waters makes things even more difficult, leaving no room for mistakes, especially when facing bad weather conditions.
The plane was supposed to land on the main runway, which is approximately 7,000 feet long with a width of 150 feet. On the right side there are taxiways and terminals. On the left, where the plane actually managed to stop, there is a berm followed by the bay.
When landing on longer runways, pilots have enough space to easily glide above the runway before actually landing. At LaGuardia, however, everything a pilot can do, according to US Airways pilot John M. Cox, who’s also CEO of consultancy Safety Operating Systems, is to “put the airplane on the ground and stop it.” He did add that, although shorter than other runways, it is still possible to land safely at LaGuardia Airport.
Six people were hurt during the crash landing. Passengers described how the plane landed abruptly “then took a sharp turn” and hit the fence that limits the runway.
Some were able to upload photos of the icy waters seen through the windows of the plane. Malcolm Duckett, one of the 130 passengers aboard Flight 1086 from Atlanta said he was thankful the plane stopped before hitting the waves.
The crash landing affected the jet’s wings which, according to authorities, also caused a fuel leakage that was quickly fixed.
Image Source: USA Today