Sunday, December 16, 2007

FAA History Lesson -- December 16

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

”Dec 16, 1960: A United DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation collided in midair over Brooklyn, N.Y., killing all 128 occupants aboard the planes and eight persons on the ground. CAB determined that the probable cause was that the United flight proceeded beyond its clearance limit and confines of the airspace assigned by Air Traffic Control. The DC-8's high speed, coupled with a change of clearance which reduced the distance which the aircraft needed to travel by approximately 11 miles, contributed to the crash. The Board concluded that the crew did not take note of the change of time and distance associated with the new clearance. The crew's workload was increased by the fact that one of their two Very High Frequency radio navigational receivers was inoperative, a fact unknown to Air Traffic Control. FAA actions taken as a result of the accident included: a requirement that pilots operating under instrument flight rules report malfunctions of navigation or communications equipment, effective Feb 17, 1961; a program to equip all turbine-powered aircraft with distance measuring equipment, or DME (see Jun 15, 1961); a speed rule, effective Dec 18, 1961, prohibiting aircraft from exceeding 250 knots when within 30 nautical miles of a destination airport and below 10,000 feet, except for certain military jets requiring a higher minimum speed for safe operation; and other steps to strengthen air traffic control procedures. “

Some of you might remember this picture from a previous post about this accident.

Don Brown
December 16, 2007

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