The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating an incident last week in which, in order to avoid striking a snowplow, an airliner was forced to come to a premature stop after landing in Denver.
At about 5:38 p.m. MST on Friday, February 2, a United Airlines Boeing 737, operating as flight 1193 from Billings, Montana, landed on runway 26 at Denver International Airport (DEN). One of the pilots noticed a snowplow on the runway and the crew used maximum braking power and full use of the thrust reversers to bring the aircraft to a complete stop.
The plane missed the snowplow by about 200 feet. There were no injuries to the 101 persons aboard or the operator of the snowplow.
The plow was being escorted by an airport operations vehicle that was in radio communications with the air traffic control tower, but the vehicles had become separated, with the escort vehicle already having cleared the runway. It is unclear if the snowplow was in radio communications with either the escort vehicle or the tower. Visibility at the time of the incident was about 10 miles.
NTSB Investigator Arnold Scott has been designated as the Investigator-in-Charge of this incident. The air traffic control tower audio tapes and radar data and the aircraft's flight data recorder will be reviewed, and statements will be obtained from the pilots, the drivers of the ground vehicles, and appropriate air traffic control personnel.
This is the second runway incident the NTSB is investigating at DEN in a month. On January 5, a Frontier Airlines plane broke off a landing attempt when the crew noticed another aircraft on the runway.