Friday, August 31, 2007

FAA History Lesson -- August 31

From the FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996...

Aug 31, 1940: a Pennsylvania-Central Airlines DC-3 crashed into a ridge near Lovettsville, Va., killing all 25 persons aboard, including Sen. Ernest Lundeen (Farmer-Laborite, Minn.). The Civil Aeronautics Board cited the probable cause as disabling of the crew by a severe lightning discharge near the aircraft. The crash ended an unprecedented 17 fatality-free months for U.S. domestic scheduled air carriers, who flew 1.4 billion passenger-miles during the period. ”


Aug 31, 1986: A Mexican DC-9 and a Piper PA-28 collided in clear sky over Cerritos, Calif. The Piper had inadvertently made an unauthorized entry into the Los Angeles Terminal Control Area (TCA), and its radar return was not observed by the controller providing service to the Mexican flight. The accident killed 82 persons--all 64 aboard the DC-9, all 3 aboard the Piper, and 15 on the ground. The National Transportation Safety Board later listed the probable cause as the limitations of the air traffic control system to provide collision protection, through both air traffic control procedures and automated redundancy. The Cerritos accident was the first midair collision to occur within a TCA. On Sep 15, FAA Administrator Engen appointed a special task force to study actions to improve the TCAs. On Oct 27, the agency announced plans to implement the group's 40 recommendations, including: a minimum 60-day license suspension for pilots violating TCA boundaries (see Oct 10, 1986); expanded requirements for altitude encoding transponders (see Jan 29, 1987); and action to simplify and standardize the design of TCAs (see Jan 12, 1989). “


Aug 31, 1988: A Delta Airlines Boeing 727 crashed on takeoff at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, killing 13 of the 108 on board. The National Transportation Safety Board listed the probable cause of the accident as inadequate cockpit disciple resulting in an attempt to takeoff without the wing flaps and slats properly configured, and a failure in the warning takeoff system. As a contributory factors, the Board cited: Delta’s slow implementation of safety steps necessitated by the airline’s rapid growth; a lack of accountability in FAA’s inspection process; and insufficiently aggressive action by the agency to correct known deficiencies at Delta, which had been the subject of a special inspection in 1987 following a series of incidents. FAA’s response to the Board’s recommendations included certain actions concerning inspections, required modifications to the 727 takeoff warning system, and a variety of other measures.“


I found no mention of airline delays on this date in FAA history.

Don Brown
August 31, 2007

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