Flight crew from the Delta plane that skidded of a LaGuardia runway last week and struck a fence told investigators that the runway appeared “all white” just before landing and the plane did not seem to slow down properly.
The auto brakes were set to “max” but the pilots said they did not sense any “wheel brake deceleration” and the automatic spoilers, which are supposed to help slow down the plane, did not deploy properly, according to a report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Monday.
As a result, the captain was unable to prevent the plane from veering left and slamming into a fence on the edge of Flushing Bay.
According to the report, the plane veered off Runway 13 about 3,000 feet from the approach end of the runway. About 4,100 feet from the approach end of the runway, the plane’s left wing struck the airport’s perimeter fence, and then around 5,000 feet from the approach end of the runway, the aircraft came to rest with its nose on an embankment.
All 127 passengers and five crew members had to be evacuated from the plane following the Thursday morning accident involving Flight 1086 from Atlanta. Twenty-three people received minor injuries and five people were taken to the hospital, officials said.
The incident also significantly damaged the plane, including its left wing, nose gear, main electronics bay and underside of its fuselage from the front of the aircraft all the way to back to the left front passenger door, according to the report. Officials also reported a fuel leak from the jet that was quickly brought under control.
The report also revealed more about the plane, which has had 71,195.54 flight hours and 54,865 flight cycles since Delta took delivery of it in December 1987.
Its last major maintenance visit took place on September 22, which was part of the plane’s regularly scheduled maintenance program, and included tests of the auto brake, anti-skid and auto spoiler systems. The last overnight service check was completed on March 2.
At a press briefing following the crash, Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye said the two planes that landed before Flight 1086 reported “good braking action,” and that the runway was plowed shortly ahead of the accident.
The report from the NTSB said that Flight 1086 based its decision to land on these reports of “good braking action” from air traffic control.
In the coming days, NTSB is planning on interviewing the flight crew of the Delta plane that landed three minutes prior on the same runway and examining its flight data recorder.
Following a preliminary reading of its flight data recorder, the NTSB will read out Flight 1086’s quick access data recorder on Tuesday and a meteorologist is examining weather conditions at the time of the accident.