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Hard Landings on American Airlines flight injured Flight Attendants - Pilot Error?

Hard Landings on American Airlines flight injured Flight Attendants - Pilot Error?

Old Jan 24, 23, 1:15 pm
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Hard Landings on American Airlines flight injured Flight Attendants - Pilot Error?

While the plane sat at the gate during a long departure delay, I walked back to the restroom. While waiting for one of the toilets to become available I overheard a discussion between two Flight Attendants. Both complained about the incompetent pilot who injured them and all the other flight attendants during a very hard landing on the previous flight. The reason for our flight delay was one of the other Flight Attendants who were working at the front of the plane decided that she was just too sore to continue due to the hard landing on the previous flight. She thought she could work our flight so they allowed the passengers to load on the plane but then she decided she was too injured. The two Flight Attendants in the back said they felt terrible from the hard landing but were going to work so the flight would go off so the passengers can get home. About an hour later a replacement Flight Attendant showed up and we left the gate 15 minutes later.

There was no drink or food service on the 2 1/2-hour flight for some unknown reason. Flight Attendants too sore?

When the plane landed in clear weather with light winds at RDU we had a very hard landing. I don't know if anyone was injured this time but we hit the runway very hard! So two hard landing in a row with the same pilot.

Here is my question: Were the two very hard landings in a row on that plane the fault of the pilot or just a fluke? And what is the rule for AA Flight Attendants regarding calling out sick after a hard landing that throws out their backs?
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Old Jan 24, 23, 1:30 pm
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Hard landings are generally pilot error. It is possible that wind shear could cause/contribute to a firm landing though.

Of course if it was an autoland that was firm, then it would be a mechanical issue. But if you had a firm autoland, the pilot should write it up and not use it again until it is "repaired"

AA flight attendants can call in sick if they don't feel healthy enough to safely do their job.

It is their discretion - and an FAA regulation that you not fly (work) when sick or injured.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 1:38 pm
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Originally Posted by nachosdelux View Post
Hard landings are generally pilot error. It is possible that wind shear could cause/contribute to a firm landing though.

Of course if it was an autoland that was firm, then it would be a mechanical issue. But if you had a firm autoland, the pilot should write it up and not use it again until it is "repaired"
Pilot Squawk: "Autoland extremely rough."
Mechanic Signoff: "Autoland not installed on this aircraft."

AA flight attendants can call in sick if they don't feel healthy enough to safely do their job.

It is their discretion - and an FAA regulation that you not fly (work) when sick or injured.
If it was an actual hard landing (as defined by that aircraft's AFM or MM), there's a hard landing inspection that must be performed.

Is there any evidence that actual hard landings occurred?
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Old Jan 24, 23, 1:50 pm
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Hard landing, IIRC, is clinically defined by a 2g+ landing force. It's unlikely that an airframe that had a hard landing that could cause physical harm would take off next flight without an inspection. It's possible that a FA could have struck their head or body against something during a firm landing. But if all the FA were saying this....maybe it was. Maybe a pilot on the forum can tell us if the A320 series or the 737 series is equipped with a sensor to detect a hard landing?

What was the weather situation? If there was a crosswind or runway condition, pilots are trained to use a firmer landing to avoid floating.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 2:14 pm
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Assuming that the flight attendant was seated and buckled up, it seems unlikely that out of 160 or so people on the plane she would be the only one affected.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 5:09 pm
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Pilots that fly together typically alternate between flight legs, so its unlikely the same pilot was actually at the controls on both.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 9:30 pm
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Originally Posted by Narrow Seat View Post
I overheard a discussion between two Flight Attendants. Both complained about the incompetent pilot who injured them and all the other flight attendants during a very hard landing on the previous flight.
Based on your description the aircraft involved is likely an Airbus or a 737, so typically 4 or 5 flight attendants onboard.

The flight attendant complained that the hard landing "injured them and all the other flight attendants" and yet there is no reporting anywhere about passengers on the plane being injured? The FAs would have been seated and buckled into their seats by a four point harness during landing, which should provide far better protection than the simple lap belts the passengers use.

I'm not questioning what you heard. Rather I'm questioning the accuracy of the FA's description of the results of the alleged incident.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 9:45 pm
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People in the back feel the most displacement from hard landings. Flight attendants sit in the rearmost part of the plane, so they would feel it more than the passengers.

As someone who flies out of John Wayne Airport, I have had my share of hard landings.
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Old Jan 25, 23, 5:06 am
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Originally Posted by Extraordinary1 View Post
People in the back feel the most displacement from hard landings. Flight attendants sit in the rearmost part of the plane, so they would feel it more than the passengers.

As someone who flies out of John Wayne Airport, I have had my share of hard landings.
Other than your personal observations do you have anything that supports your claim that people in the back feel the most displacement from hard landings?

Given the dynamics involved in hard landings the people in the back might feel it more than people in the front, however, the reverse can also be true. There's still also the claim that all the flight attendants were injured, and since typically there are attendants seated at the rear and front of the cabin the FA's claim still doesn't make a lot of sense.
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Old Jan 25, 23, 7:48 am
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Originally Posted by Herb687 View Post
Pilot Squawk: "Autoland extremely rough."
Mechanic Signoff: "Autoland not installed on this aircraft."


If it was an actual hard landing (as defined by that aircraft's AFM or MM), there's a hard landing inspection that must be performed.

Is there any evidence that actual hard landings occurred?
Im curious what kind of evidence are you expecting the OP to provide?

Im not an expert here so did a quick search on the criteria for an event to be defined as a hard landing. It seems Boeing, for one, is of the view that the flight crew assessment is the most reliable way to determine whether a hard landing occurred.

https://www.boeing.com/commercial/ae...l_story.html#1

PS: the OP is asking whether a hard landing would be a mechanical or human fault, and what the rules are for attendants calling in sick after such event. Demanding proof that the OPs story is true (and implicitly suggesting the hard landing didnt occur) is completely irrelevant in the context of this discussion. Its also not polite.
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Old Jan 25, 23, 8:00 am
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I've had some, "rough landings," over the years, but I can only remember one that I'd classify as a, "hard landing." I was flying NW DTW-PHX (and there were issues with a sick pax who they kicked off before leaving DTW, and had to bring on cleaning people to sanitize the lav). Anyway, when we landed many of us got jostled around, several overhead bins opened, and bags started flying out. A few pax actually got up to try to hold the bins closed, and the FAs scolded them for that. I would assume that one was noteworthy enough to cause something to happen.
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Old Jan 25, 23, 10:25 am
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Air Force vs. Navy Landing - YouTube



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Old Jan 25, 23, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by fdog View Post
AA had a lot of former navy pilots on the MD80 fleet. At least that's what my friends dad who was an AA pilot said when we were discussing some of the landings.

I've had one that I'd consider a true hard landing. O2 masks dropped. however that's just my feelings, I didn't have the sink rate data or anything to back it up.

I recall that they did a study a while ago and found that the vast majority of hard landings reported were no where near the max (600 fpm on the a320 at MLW if I recall correctly). Interesting how we process data and as always, better to be safe that sorry.
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Old Jan 25, 23, 11:11 am
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A really smooth landing is like hitting a home run in Yankee Stadium. Sometimes even Aaron Judge strikes out.
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Old Jan 25, 23, 11:15 am
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Originally Posted by benmo13 View Post
I’m curious… what kind of “evidence” are you expecting the OP to provide?

I’m not an expert here so did a quick search on the criteria for an event to be defined as a hard landing. It seems Boeing, for one, is of the view that the flight crew assessment is the most reliable way to determine whether a hard landing occurred.

https://www.boeing.com/commercial/ae...l_story.html#1

PS: the OP is asking whether a hard landing would be a mechanical or human fault, and what the rules are for attendants calling in sick after such event. Demanding proof that the OP’s story is true (and implicitly suggesting the hard landing didn’t occur) is completely irrelevant in the context of this discussion. It’s also not polite.
I'm not suggesting that a subjectively hard landing did not occur. I'm suggesting that an objectively Hard Landing as defined by the appropriate maintenance manual did not occur and especially not on two consecutive flights.

Again, an actual defined Hard Landing would require a special inspection afterwards.

OP didn't mention anything about a delay due to maintenance performing a hard landing inspection. A hard landing inspection is not going to be completed and signed off in the typical 40-50 minutes AA schedules turnarounds.

I'm assuming that a subjectively hard landing occurred. And I'm also suggesting that one FA's back problems had nothing to do with the subjectively hard landing.

If an actual definitional Hard Landing had occurred, that would no doubt be pilot error. Manufacturers don't design their autoflight systems to prang aircraft onto the ground at excessive sink rates.

As for an FA calling in sick, I imagine they can do so for any reason if they're feeling sick. Bad back due to a hard landing or any other reason. I don't have the current APFA contract handy but I'm sure that AA can punish FAs who call in sick too often. And I'm also assuming that an FA's union rep could dispute a punishment if they could prove the injury was an on-the-job injury as a back injury from a documented Hard Landing would doubtless be. An undocumented subjectively hard landing that only injured 1 of 4 FAs on the other hand...
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