FAA History Lesson -- September 9

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

”Sep 9, 1969: A midair collision near Fairland, Ind., killed all 83 people aboard the aircraft involved, an Allegheny Airlines DC-9 and a Piper PA-28. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) listed the probable cause as deficiencies of the air traffic control system in a terminal area with mixed instrument flight rules (IFR) and visual flight rules (VFR) traffic. The cited deficiencies included the inadequacy of the see-and-avoid concept under the circumstances, lack of regulations to provide an adequate separation system for mixed VFR/IFR traffic in terminal areas, and the technical limitations of radar in detecting all aircraft. In response to NTSB recommendations, FAA agreed to expedite research into enhancing radar detection through a passive device to be carried by smaller aircraft. Meanwhile, the agency moved toward greatly improved radar detection by requirements for radar beacons (transponders) aboard aircraft in designated terminal areas (see Jun 25, 1970). ”

If you’re thinking that this story sound eerily familiar that would be because it is.

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.

Don Brown
September 9, 2007


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