Multiple Pilot Failures Deemed Cause of Pence's LaGuardia Skid

  • Safety board issues report on rainy-night runway overshoot
  • Says pilots let plane drift too far before attempting to land

A series of errors by the pilots of the plane carrying then vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence sent it skidding off a runway in New York in October, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a final report establishing probable cause of the accident.

The safety investigator said the first officer, who landed the Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-700, sailed far beyond the start of the runway before touchdown on the rainy evening, and should have aborted the landing and returned for a second try. The plane didn’t touch down until passing over about 4,200 feet (1,280 meters) of runway, leaving it just 2,800 feet to stop. The plane was damaged when it hit a crushable concrete barrier at the end of the runway. No injuries were sustained by the 37 passengers or 11 crew members.

“Several failures in close succession” caused the mishap, the investigators concluded.

The plane’s captain also didn’t announce he was assuming control from the co-pilot during the landing roll, going against procedure, which led to both pilots “attempting directional inputs that were at odds with the other,” the NTSB said. That was a “breakdown of basic crew management,” it said.

The plane was carrying Pence and staff from Donald Trump’s campaign when it overran a runway at LaGuardia Airport on Oct. 27, coming to rest about 170 feet beyond the runway’s end.

Other factors contributing to the accident included delays in reducing the aircraft’s throttles and manually deploying the aircraft’s speed brakes, the NTSB said.

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