Wings Magazine

Southwest pilots found responsible in hard landing crash

Napoli Shkolnik PLLC filed a lawsuit for serious injuries sustained by a passenger when Southwest Airlines Flight 345 had a hard landing at New York's LaGuardia Airport on July 22, 2013 resulting in the planes landing gear crashing into the planes passenger compartment. Recently the NTSB determined the cause of the crash was the result pilot error.

December 21, 2015  By Napoli Shkolnik PLLC

According to the NTSB, on July 22, 2013, a Boeing 737, Southwest Airlines flight 345, landed hard, nose-first, on Runway 4 at LGA. Of the 144 passengers and five crewmembers on board, eight sustained injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged. The NTSB found that contributing to the accident was the captain’s failure to comply with standard operating procedures during the approach. NTSB found that the first officer was conducting the approach, and the captain took control away from the first officer, but not until the plane was 27 feet above the ground. This late transfer of control from the first officer to the captain resulted in neither pilot being able to effectively monitor the airplane’s altitude and pitch attitude. According to the Southwest Airlines Flight Operations Manual, the captain should have called for a go-around well before this point in the approach instead of trying to salvage the landing.

Dr. Kenneth Kochman suffered serious spinal injury resulting in extended periods of loss of work for weeks and months after the landing.

These events are particularly troubling since many passengers may not realize they have experienced a hard landing and suffered injury until weeks or months later. A knowledgeable aviation attorney is able to identify and determine if a hard landing occurred and whether it was due to pilot error or mechanical issues.



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