Continental 727 nearly belly-flops at O'Hare

From:         Marty Masters <mgm@royko.Chicago.COM>
Date:         22 Nov 93 15:41:11 PST
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At ORD on last monday, a Continental flight from Texas came within a
few feet of landing on runway 27 Left without using it's landing gear.

An alert pilot of American Airlines noticed that the wheels hadn't
come down into position, and radioed the tower, which told the 727
to abort the landing, and just in time.

According to a Chicago Tribune and the NTSB:

An investigation by the NTSB found that the Continental 727 crew was 
distracted by alarms in the cabin during their final approach Monday.
They failed to follow the landing checklist and forgot to put the
landing gear down, leading to an aborted landing.

The jet's final approach was 18-20 miles, longer than usual.
Thje TCAS was sounding alarms, indicating other traffic in the area.
The crew delayed putting the landing gear down to avoid slowing the 
airplane too much.

1,500 feet:  The plane brakes thru the clouds
1,000 feet:  The TCAS sounds an alert, but no other plane is visible.
  500 feet:  A ground proximity alarm went off.  This alarm can go off
for any one of five reasons; The crew must determine the cause.  The
crew, distracted by the alarms, fail to follow the landing checklist.

Fifty feet:  The ground proximity alarm stopped.  The crew saw that
the three green landing gear lights were not lit, as the ATC
instructed them to abort the landing and circle around.  As the
Captain applied full throttle to get the plane back into the air, the
rear third of the fuselage scraped the runway.

The article also adds:  The flaps were extended to 25 degrees to cut
the airplane's speed.  The decision to delay putting the gear down was
made to avoid further aerodynamic drag on the 727.  Because the flaps
were never extended to 27.5 degrees, a warning system designed to
prevent landing when the wheels are up did not activate.  According to 
Continental procedures: "a descent is permitted to continue after a
ground proximity warning is issued, as long as it is daytime and
visibility is clear."  

There is more in the article about how the TCAS causes confusion in
the crowded O'Hare airspace ...


Chicago Il... The city where the rivers leak and the bridges fall up.