On 30 May 2003 a McDonnell Douglas MD-11F being operated by Gemini Air Cargo on a revenue flight from Brussels to New York JFK, made a late touchdown on 2560 m long runway 04R at destination in normal night visibility and a runway overrun resulted. The aircraft entered the installed Engineered Materials Arresting System (Engineered Materials Arresting System) and was quickly stopped, sustaining only minor damage. The three occupants were uninjured.
An Investigation was conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (USA) (NTSB). FDR data was available but the 30 minute CVR had not been stopped after the accident and its data was of no use. The First Officer sated that he "was unaware of any company policies which required pulling the cockpit voice recorder circuit breaker after an abnormal incident".
It was established that the 59 year-old Captain, who had had been PF had a total of 7000 flying hours which included 1000 hours on type. The 45 year-old First Officer had a total of 5930 flying hours which included 900 hours on type.
It was noted that an ILS approach had been flown in VMC but, in the presence of a limiting tailwind component, touchdown on the dry runway had not been completed until 1311 m past the landing threshold of the 2560 m-long runway. Autobrake and Autospoiler activation and thrust reverser deployment had occurred normally but with the autobrakes set to minimum. When the PF realised that the end of the runway was approaching, manual braking was initiated but it was not possible to stop the aircraft on the paved surface. It exited the runway at an estimated ground speed of 30 knots before stopping in the Engineered Materials Arresting System with aircraft Nose Landing Gear 73 m from the end of the runway.
The EMAS bed was set back 34 m from the end of the runway and had a length of 119 m. The aircraft stopped approximately 35 m into it.
The Investigation also noted that estimated landing weight had been 213 tonnes whereas the Company Operations Manual MLW for the runway and the aircraft as configured for the prevailing conditions including a 5 knot tail wind component was 205 tonnes.
The Probable Cause of the accident was determined as “the Captain's misjudgment of speed/distance which resulted in his failure to obtain the proper touch point resulting in an overrun".
Two Contributory Factors were considered to be the fact that it occurred (a) at night and (b) with a tail wind component.
The Final Report of the Investigation was published on 28 April 2005. No Safety Recommendations were made as a result of this Investigation.