American Airlines 331 landed too far down runway, Jamaican official says

1/06/2010

The Dallas Morning News, citing invesitagting Jamaican officials, is reporting that the AA Boeing 737-800 touched down 4,100 feet into the 8,900 foot airstrip and bounced shortly before crashed and broke up during landing.

Lt. Col. Oscar Derby, director general of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, said investigators have gathered facts but are still trying to answer why pilots landed in nearly the middle of the 8,910-foot runway – limiting their distance for stopping the aircraft in heavy rain and gusting winds.

Derby said the Boeing 737-800 bounced after landing, which would have further eliminated several hundred feet of stopping distance.

"The [runway] touchdown usually occurs at 1,500 feet, or between 1,000 and 1,500 feet [down an 8,900-foot airstrip]," Derby said. "Why this aircraft touched down at 4,100 feet is something that we are investigating very carefully in order to determine what the cause might be."

Jamaican investigators are scheduled to give their first public update today on the crash of American Airlines Flight 331, which careened off the runway at Kingston-Norman Manley International Airport on Dec. 22