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NTSB calls for more comprehensive rejected landing training

Safety investigators are requesting that the US Federal Aviation Administration develops more comprehensive rejected landing simulation training and other safety advances in the wake of the Shuttle America Embraer 170 overrun at Cleveland last year.

The flightcrew of the Delta Connection flight with 75 people on board descended below the appropriate minimum altitude for the approach and lost visual contact with the runway end during a snow squall, according to the National Transportation Safety Board's final report issued in April.

The first officer, flying the aircraft at the time of the 18 February 2007 incident, continued with the landing despite the fatigued captain's call for a go-around. The aircraft "landed long" on the "contaminated runway", overrunning the end of Runway 28, contacting an instrument landing system antenna and striking a perimeter fence, the NTSB says.

Investigators say the pilots failed to "use reverse thrust and braking to their maximum effectiveness". The NTSB is asking the FAA to require airlines, air taxis and operators of larger business jets to require initial, upgrade, transition and recurrent simulator training that includes decision-making for rejected landings below 50ft (15.2m) accompanied by a "rapid reduction in visual cues". While the FAA currently requires missed approach practice, generally at 50ft above the runway threshold, the criteria "are general in nature", says NTSB, and do not require simultaneous loss of visual contact with the ground.

Other training or operational recommendations from the Shuttle America incident include practising maximum performance landings on contaminated runways, providing a written policy that allows either pilot to call for a go-around before landing, and creating procedures allowing flight crewmembers to "decline assignments or remove themselves from duty if they were impaired by a lack of sleep".

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