Re: AA BDL MD-80 Incident

From: (David T. Medin)
Organization: Rockwell Avionics - Collins, Cedar Rapids, IA
Date:         10 Dec 95 02:51:42 
References:   1 2 3
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In article <airliners.1995.1911@ohare.Chicago.COM>, "Joseph D. Farrell" <> writes:
> >>>although the conditions may have seemed extreme to you, I can only assume
> you are not a commercial airline pilot. These conditions, although less
> than desirable, were well within the day in and day out parameters of the
> aircraft, pilots, and runway. This is the weather we make our living in.
> Although the wind was strong, it was relatively down the runway. With a
> 20- 45 kt headwind componant, the groundspeed was not a factor for a 6900
> ft, runway. The crosswind componant was also quite small. The problem
> seems to be an incorrect altimeter setting/ indication problem as the
> pilots were 300 ft. lower than they thought.<<<
> So, the fact remains that the ceiling was 800 feet and the Jepps R15
> approach into BDL requires a 1080 foot ceiling for a class D/E a/c, which
> the last time I checked an MD-80 was.  My point was the approach was not
> safe given the existing wx, something tells me that the pilots wanted into
> the airport for operational reasons, after all it was 1 am.  Runway length
> had nothing to do with my post, given the 25 kt headwind (more or less)
> it was certainly no probelm

There really is no question regarding the safety of the approach as
published, given the ceiling. The approach can be legally flown and is
safe even if the reported ceiling is too low (the reported runway
visibility is another matter and can limit an approach clearance being
issued).  The height you note is simply the MDA, which the pilot
cannot descend below unless the runway environment is in sight and the
approach can be completed successfully. If the pilot reaches the
missed-approach point without seeing the runway environment, then a
missed approach has to be executed. The problem appears to be that the
aircraft, as many others have said, was not flying the published
approach profile, period, which would constitute a violation of the
FARs and compromise flight safety. Why this was the case remains to be

I will agree that the approach would have had a poor chance of
completion given the reported ceiling. However, I have landed many
times when the reported ceiling was lower than actual, and have had to
miss approaches when the reported ceiling was much higher than it
really was. I don't think an attempt at one approach would have been
unwise or unsafe.

       David Medin            Phone: (319) 395-1862
   Rockwell Collins ATD	      Internet:
     Cedar Rapids, IA