NTSB Finds Southwest Pilots Were Unfamiliar With Aircraft in 2005 Accident

The United States National Transportation Safety Board has found that Southwest Airlines pilots were unfamiliar with a new braking procedure and unaware of landing rules in a fatal 2005 accident.

The NTSB said that the pilots did not know the landing rules for sloppy conditions. These issues caused the 2005 accident in which a flight from Baltimore skidded off a Chicago runway in snowy conditions, killing a child.

According to The Baltimore Sun, the aircraft crashed through two fences at Chicago's Midway Airport, hitting several vehicles in the process. The aircraft crushed a six-year-old boy in a car and injured ten others on the ground.

Southwest spokeswoman Marilee McInnis said the airline started retraining its pilots immediately after the accident.

The NTSB said that lack of experience with the Boeing 737-700's auto-braking system distracted the pilots from using the engine thrust-reversers until just before it skidded off the runway.

Additionally, while the probe concluded that much of the responsibility lay with the pilots, Southwest apparently contributed by failing to provide its pilots with "clear and consistent guidance and training" for calculating stopping distances in poor weather.

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