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Delta Flight 1086 Skids Off Runway at LaGuardia Airport

by Lux Joseph 6. March 2015

On Thursday, March 5th, Delta Flight 1086, coming from Atlanta, attempted to land in LaGuardia Airport during heavy snow. After the plane touched ground, about halfway through the  7,000 foot long runway it began to slide off towards Flushing Bay, breaking through a fence and stopping on an embankment just short of the icy water.

LaGuardia Airport is known for it’s short runways in comparison to other airports and for it’s close location to the waterfront of Flushing Bay.  More so, being close to three other airports, pilots are forced to navigate through tight turns while preparing to land. Since other airports have more runway space, planes landing in them normally glide over part of the runway before landing. John M. Cox, a former US Airways Pilot, now CEO of consultancy Safety Operating Systems, told ABC news “You put the airplane on the ground and land it.”.

Should a plane accidentally overshoot the landing, the Federal Aviation Administration made it mandatory that at the end of each runway there should be an engineer materials arrestor system. This would act as a measure to be sure the plane stops, as it’s wheels would sink into the material, acting to slow the plane down. The issue was that the plane began to slide off the runway about halfway through, at 4,000 feet.

Because the runway extends onto a steel pier over the water this makes it easy for the runway to freeze over, which would make landing more difficult in very cold conditions. Steve Blazejewski told the New York times that he remembered “skidding forward but veering off to the left.”

To add on to what happened, Jared Faellaci stated, “The wheel felt like they didn’t take, we were going so fast.” He goes on to say “One or two seconds later we skidded off to the left side of the runway.  We skidded for about 20 seconds, and you could feel that we had gone off the pavement. It wasn’t a smooth surface anymore, it was very bumpy.”

According to Patrick Foye, the executive director of the port authority, the runway had been plowed minutes before the incident. He stated that other pilots who had landed earlier “reported good braking action. ”

As the plane approached the river, it was stopped by the bern, which was used to stop the bay from flooding onto the airport runways. Foye said, “The plane did not make contact with the water.” While there was a minor fuel leak, it was quickly dealt with. The passengers made it off the plane safely, using the right wing to get down because the chutes did not deploy.

Jared Kaufman, one of the passengers, told ABC news “As we walked across the runway, it was covered with so much snow that I was wondering: who decided it was safe to land here?”

The airport was closed for several hours after the incident. At around 2:30, LaGuardia airport reopened one of its runways. It was initially reported that the runway would be closed until 6:00pm however all appropriate parties handled the situation very efficiently.

This isn’t the first incident LaGuardia Airport has had during the winter season. On March 2, 1994 Continental Airlines flight 705 began to skid during it’s take off, and found itself on the berm. Around 30 injuries were reported then.

There was an earlier incident on March 23, 1992, where a plane, holding 51 passengers, was trying to take off during a snowstorm and ended up crashing into Flushing Bay, killing 27 passengers.

At Commercial Medical Escorts, safety is a number one priority for our patients, nurses, physicians, and their families. Our dedicated safety committee in collaboration with our operations team, constantly are reviewing and analyzing our transports to ensure safety protocols are being met. It is important that we look at this from all angles to ensure we deliver our patients with a smiling face and peace of mind for every transport.


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