Narrative:At 06:50 Flight 1943 departed Washington for a flight to Houston. At 08:45, while descending through FL190, the first officer called for the in-range checklist. The captain referred to each of the seven items on the in-range checklist, in the correct order, except for the fourth item, "Hydraulics". The descent was continued and the flight crew were vectored for a runway 27 approach. At 0900:13, after crossing the outer marker, the first officer called for the flaps to be extended to 15deg. The first officer noted that the flaps had no extended.
At 0900:38, the first officer called "gear down," and 2 seconds later, the CVR recorded the sound of a thump. At 0900:41, the first officer called for the landing checklist and the flaps to be extended to 25deg .The gear warning horn began to sound, but the captain thought it sounded because he put the flaps to 25deg before the gear was down and locked. Approaching runway 27 at a relatively high speed, the ground proximity warning system (GPWS) sounded. At 0901:20, the captain took over control. The transfer of control from the first officer to the captain occurred as the airplane was traveling at 204 knots indicated airspeed, approximately 161 feet agl, and 12 seconds from touchdown. At 0901:32, the airplane touched down hard with the wheels up at 193 knots indicated airspeed, 3360 feet down runway 27 and slid for 6915 feet before coming to rest 140 feet left of the centerline.
The aircraft was evacuated when smoke filled the cabin. Reference touchdown speed with flaps 50deg is 121 kts.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the captain’s decision to continue the approach contrary to COA standard operating procedures that mandate a go-around when an approach is unstabilized below 500 feet or a ground proximity warning system alert continues below 200 feet above field elevation. The following factors contributed to the accident: (1) the flight crew's failure to properly complete the in-range checklist, which resulted in a lack of hydraulic pressure to lower the landing gear and deploy the flaps; (2) the flight crew's failure to perform the landing checklist and confirm that the landing gear was extended; (3) the inadequate remedial actions by COA to ensure adherence to standard operating procedures; and (4) the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) inadequate oversight of COA to ensure adherence to standard operating procedures."
» Aviation Week & Space Technology 17.2.97(68)
Official accident investigation report
Follow-up / safety actions
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Washington-National Airport, DC to Houston-Intercontinental Airport, TX as the crow flies is 1928 km (1205 miles).