Crash Investigators Reassess Aircraft Braking

August 31, 2010

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Crash investigators are re-evaluating the performance of aircraft braking systems in rainy conditions, following the overshoot of an American Airlines plane on the runway while landing in Jamaica last year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Boeing 737 careened off the runway and broke into three parts on December 22 after landing in rain at Norman Manley Airport in Kingston.

Quoting people familiar with the details, the Journal said National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators were to challenge longstanding airline practices and technical assumptions regarding braking capabilities on wet runways.

By those criteria, the Boeing 737-800 should have been able to stop safely on the strip, the Journal said.

The safety board investigators were inclined toward drafting recommendations to reassess, and in some cases tighten, current safety margins for landing on wet runways, the Journal said.

Earlier this month, the US government proposed to fine American Airlines USD$24.2 million -- the biggest ever fine against an airline proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration -- for alleged maintenance violations that led to thousands of flight cancellations two years ago.