Wednesday, March 05, 2008

FAA History Lesson -- March 5



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

”Mar 5, 1969: A Puerto Rico International Airlines (PRINAIR) de Havilland 114 Heron crashed near San Juan, P.R., killing all 19 persons aboard. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) listed the probable cause as the vectoring of the aircraft into mountainous terrain by a controller performing beyond the safe limits of his performance capability and without adequate supervision. NTSB noted that a routine psychological test in 1966 had suggested that the controller suffered from high anxiety and low stress tolerance. He then received psychiatric and psychological examinations, after which the regional flight surgeon pronounced him fit for duty. NTSB concluded the controller’s problems with anxiety and stress, in combination with other factors, might have caused his inadequate duty performance. NTSB therefore recommended that FAA expand the psychiatric and psychological assessment of controllers, and place such assessment under the strict supervision of qualified psychiatrists and psychologists. In reply, FAA pointed to the appointment of a panel of psychiatrists and psychologists to assist the Federal Air Surgeon. “

The NTSB report puts it a little more succinctly:

“REMARKS- ACFT UNDER RADAR CTL VECTORED INTO MT BY CONTROLLER TRAINEE WHO WAS NOT ADEQUATELY SUPERVISED."

Don Brown
March 5, 2008

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