WE KNOW THAT MOST accidents occur when tolerances line up unidirectionally. Sometimes, the tolerances are way out of the box, while at other times the unidirectional shift is very subtle. Such is the case of FedEx Flight 1478, which struck trees on short final approach and crashed short of Runway 9 at Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional Airport (TLH) just before dawn on July 26, 2002. The three cockpit crewmembers were seriously injured and the aircraft was destroyed by the impact and fire. ...

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