November 14, 2022
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What possessed a thirteen year veteran pilot for Southwest Airlines to suddenly take over the landing of a jet liner at Laguardia Airport? This hasty decision caused Southwest Flight 345 to land on the nose-gear of the airliner back in July. The results were collapse and damage to the nose gear, putting the 737-700 jet out of commission. This also caused minor injuries to nine passengers, and snarled air traffic at the airport for several hours. The flight was out of Nashville, Tennessee.
The initial report from the airport was released yesterday, and although the pilots were not named, the captain was fired and the first officer is to undergo additional training. The first officer was in charge of the landing according to reports and at the last minute the captain took over the landing, in which the nose gear hit the runway before the main landing gear, causing the nose gear to collapse. This action that the captain took, which normally does not happen unless something major is happening, was not explained in the report, and is not likely to ever be known. During the airline’s inquiry, both pilots were on administrative leave pending the outcome. The captain had been at this post for about six years and had logged more than 12000 flight hours. The first officer has been with Southwest for roughly eighteen months, and had logged 5200 flight hours.
The airline reviewed evidence from video sources, as well as other sources. The NTSB is still investigating the incident. Of course, with the recent government shutdown, the NTSB has suspended all but necessary investigations. Necessary involves investigations which are deemed vital to public safety so this matter may be some time in resolving.
Mark Richardson, who is president of Southwest Airlines Pilot’s Association (SWAPA) stated that the union was disappointed in the termination of the pilot, and would make sure that the terminated pilot would receive his right to due process.