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Pilots on a chartered plane that ended up in a river at a Florida military base called for a last-minute change to the runway they were to land on, a federal investigator said on Sunday.
The pilots of the Miami Air International plane requested the change to air traffic controllers shortly before landing at the Navy Air Station in Jacksonville on Friday night.
The 2,700-meter (9,000-foot) long runway where the Boeing 737 landed was essentially limited to 2,370 meters (7,800 feet) because there was a wire barrier installed to retrieve Navy aircraft in case they could not land in the aircraft carriers during training, said Bruce Landsberg, vice president of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
“We do not know what they were thinking or why they made that decision,” Landsberg told a news conference. “It’s one of the things we want to find out.”
Landsberg did not go into detail about the meaning of the track change, but said it will be part of the investigation.
NTSB investigators said they expect the voice recorder in the cockpit to help them answer that question, but they have not been able to recover it because that part of the plane is still submerged in the St. Johns River. An interview with the pilots is also planned, Landsberg said.
The investigators have already recovered the flight data recorder.
Landsberg said the aircraft had recently been serviced and records revealed that a left-hand push inverter was not working.
The thrust reversers are used to deflect the engine’s gas stream, Landsberg said.
According to the Faculty of Engineering at Purdue University, a thrust reverser can be used to help the aircraft stop.
“We will examine that very closely in the maintenance of the aircraft of the previous weeks,” the official said.
There were no serious injuries on the flight from the base of Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, although about twenty of the 143 passengers and crew members requested medical attention for minor injuries.
Source: El Nuevo Herald