Reduced Situational Awareness Caused Runway Excursion

 - May 26, 2014, 12:50 PM
The fuselage of the American Airlines 737 that overshot the runway at Jamaica’s Kingston Airport broke in half, but everyone on board survived the accident. (Photo: JCAA)

The Jamaican Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) labeled an American Airlines flight crew’s reduced situational awareness as the primary cause of the December 2009 runway excursion by a Boeing 737-800 at Kingston Airport. The aircraft departed Miami carrying 148 passengers and a crew of six, and all occupants survived the accident.

In a report published last week investigators said the flight crew decided it would be safe to land on the 8,900-foot long Runway 12 at Kingston, which was wet from a recent rain shower, as long as the tailwind did not exceed 15 knots. They concluded that a landing on Runway 12 in heavy rain with a 14-knot tailwind was marginal and a safer option would have been to use the Rnav (GPS) Runway 30 approach landing straight in.

After entering rain on final approach, the aircraft touched down 4,100 feet from the landing threshold. Because the crew did not apply maximum manual braking until the aircraft was more than 6,800 feet down the runway, the airplane skidded off the end of the hard surface, crossed a road and came to rest on a beach. The fuselage cracked open just forward of the wing, the right engine broke off and the left main landing gear collapsed.

The JCAA said the crew should have executed a go-around once they realized how far down the runway they’d initially touched down.

Reported weather showed three miles visibility beneath a 1,400 foot broken deck with a moderate rain shower over the airport at arrival time.