Saturday, March 03, 2007

Preliminary report: Shuttle America ERJ-170 runway overrun at Cleveland

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has published a preliminary report about a runway overrun by an ERJ-170 at Cleveland last month. The accident happened on the afternoon of February 18, 2007 at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE). The aircraft was operated by Shuttle America, a unit of Republic Airways, as a Delta Connection flight.

After landing, the aircraft overran the end of runway 28 by 150 feet, hitting a localizer antenna and a fence before it came to rest. The flight, which had originated in Atlanta, had a crew of four and 70 passengers aboard. No one was injured.

The NTSB report says that instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and the flight was operating on an instrument flight plan. The glideslope for the ILS runway 28 approach was unusable at the time of the accident due to the snow. The crew stated they were made aware of this by air traffic control when they were cleared for the approach to runway 28.

Here is how the accident developed:
The first officer was flying the airplane at the time of the accident. The captain reported they were cleared for the ILS runway 24R approach. He stated that approximately 10 minutes prior to landing, air traffic control changed the landing runway to runway 28.

The captain stated they were informed that the runway visual range (RVR) was 6,000 feet and that the braking action was fair. He reported that after passing the final approach fix, they were informed that the RVR had decreased to 2,000 feet.

The captain stated he had the approach lights in sight and at 50 feet above the ground, he had the runway in sight. He stated the first officer then turned off the autopilot to land.

The captain stated that at 30 feet above the ground he momentarily lost sight of the runway. He stated he then regained sight of the runway and the airplane was landed. He stated they encountered strong gusty winds during the landing flare and after touchdown they could barely see the runway lights and taxiway turn-offs.

The captain reported that despite the use of full reverse and braking, the airplane did not seem to slow down. The airplane traveled off the runway and into the snow covered grass where the nose gear collapsed and the airplane came to rest.

The crew and passengers deplaned using a ladder with assistance from the fire department. [NTSB Report: CHI07MA072]
The NTSB report also notes that there was heavy snow, with visibility of less than a quarter mile at CLE at the time of the accident.

An  article about the accident, published on the CBS News website, quoted a Delta Air Lines spokeswoman who said that the aircraft's engines "were partially buried in snow and the tip of the plane's nose was resting on a roadway the airport uses to get to perimeter buildings."