Airline Warned of Runway Glitch Before Buffalo Crash

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2009 5:51 PM CST
A Bombardier Dash-8 Q400.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – Add this to the mix in the Buffalo plane crash: Southwest Airlines warned its pilots just weeks ago about a landing glitch involving the same runway the Continental flight was destined for, CNN reports. It seems an earthen dam near the runway interferes with signals in a so-called instruments landing, used during low visibility. The glitch could cause a plane's nose to pitch upward, generally consistent with the Buffalo circumstances.

The FAA and the NTSB both say they are aware of the warning—Southwest called it a "potentially significant hazard"—but aren't commenting further. Investigators of late have been leaning toward pilot error—perhaps an overcorrection to the plane's moves while on autopilot, notes the New York Times.