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Chicago plane crash sparks landing study

Feb. 9, 2006 at 12:18 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. regulators and aircraft manufacturers are concerned with a lack of standards in determining when it is safe to land an airplane in bad weather.

The fact there are no federal requirements for calculations critical to landing planes in wintry weather came to light in the probe into the Dec. 8 crash of a Southwest Airlines flight at Chicago's Midway International Airport, USA Today reported.

The newspaper obtained a memo Boeing sent to airlines last week, urging them to review their calculations for safe stopping distances. The company's operations manual for the type of B-737 that crashed shows that landing at Midway that day was barely possible if everything went perfectly.

With moderate snow on the runway and a tailwind, Boeing says it would take about 5,800 feet to stop. The runway is 5,826 feet long.

Flight 1248 slid off the runway and crashed through a fence, killing a 6-year-old boy in a car.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which must sign off on each airline's operations, has also begun an evaluation of landing standards, said spokeswoman Laura Brown.

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