The Jersey Belle’s Jaime Primak may have heard right.
As Delta Flight 1086 skidded on the thin coat of snow covering LaGuardia’s Runway 13 last week, Primak, the reality TV star who was on board, said she heard the captain yell, “We have no power! We have no power!”
The National Transportation Safety Board has revealed that the auto brakes on the jetliner were set to “max” but the crew "did not sense any wheel brake deceleration" before the plane veered left off the runway, crashed through a fence. and barely missed winding up in Flushing Bay.
“The captain reported that he was unable to prevent the airplane from drifting left," the NTSB said Monday.
The scenario emerging fits with what Primak told local NBC in New York could foreshadow what the agency's probe may find -- that the captain found himself in a situation in which his attempts to slow and stop the plane were mechanically hindered.
Another Delta MD-88 aircraft, just like the one Primak was on, landed on Runway 13 three minutes before 1086 and had no problem, reporting the braking action to be "good.”
On Tuesday, “investigators with the Airworthiness group will continue to examine and test the antiskid, autobrake and thrust reverser systems,” the NTSB said in a statement. Weather conditions at the time of the accident will also be examined.
Phil Derner, founder of NYCAviation.com, told Metro last Friday that a unique circumstance, or set of circumstances — a tailwind shift or mechanical breakdown, or both -- likely are behind what happened.
The weather at the time, with low visibility and about 3 inches of snow, are conditions passengers planes and trained pilots know how to handle. The runway had also been freshly plowed.
Critics have also cited LaGuardia’s notoriously short runways, about 7,000 feet, something Derner also likely had nothing to do with the slip-slide.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters he, too, is zeroing in on mechanical matters and the age of Flight 1086 -- nearly 30 years old.
“The question is, are the braking systems up to snuff?” Schumer said. “I’ve asked the NTSB not only to do a thorough examination of the braking system of this plane, but of other planes like it.”
There were 127 passengers and five crew on board. The FDNY said two dozen people suffered minor injuries — mostly back and neck — and three were taken to hospital.
There is already at least one other confirmed mechanical failure: the emergency slides failed to deploy after the plane came to rest on a raised flood water berm.
Passengers had to walk out on the wing, or from the rear, and be helped down by first responders.