Thursday, December 15, 2005

We needed a federal investigation to reach this conclusion?

NTSB: Plane at Midway Needed More Runway

CHICAGO - A jetliner that skidded off a landing strip and into a city street needed about 800 more feet of runway to come to a safe stop, federal investigators said Thursday.

The Southwest Airlines jet crushed a car, killing a 6-year-old boy, after it skidded off a 6,500-foot runway and crashed through a fence at Midway International Airport earlier this month.

A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board shows the airplane touched down with about 4,500 feet of runway remaining, but snowy conditions and other factors meant the plane ideally needed about 5,300 feet of runway, according to a report released Thursday.

   On the few occasions I have flown in and out of Chicago - Midway, I have seen just how close the end of the runway is to the surrounding neighborhood. It's really a wonder that this kind of thing has not happened before.

   And yet, a Southwest pilot who has no doubt flown into Midway countless times (it's a Southwest hub) decides to set his plane down a little long in inclement conditions, no doubt aware on some level that he has absolutely no room for error.

   I smell a lawsuit brewing...


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