Re: AA BDL MD-80 Incident

From: (Alexandc10)
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Date:         04 Dec 95 01:14:58 
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I'm not sure exactly what the WX report was at the time of the incident,
BUT...I'n defense of the pilots, let me point out a few things:  The legal
ability of a part 121 aircraft to accept an approach is predicated on
visibility ONLY, not ceiling.  As long as the field was reporting
acceptable visibility, then the approach was legal.  In fact, it MAY have
been the ONLY legal option:  The winds may have exceeded the Aircraft's
X/Wind limit, and AA's ops specifications probably prohibit circling
approaches at night.  In general, given the level nature of a
non-precision approach in its final stages, the notion of "going in to
take a look" is a reasonably acceptable one.  If you see the runway with
adequate visibility- you land.  If you don't, you climb.  The transition
to a missed approach in a non-precision approach is generally easier than
for a precision approach:  it is from a level condition to a climbing one,
rather than from descending to climbing.  The problem here was that for
some reason, the A/C was not at an appropriate altitude.  THAT, the crew
may be blamed for.  Additionally, the GPWS system should have warned the
pilots of excess terrain closure, compelling them to initiate immediate