NTSB Identification: CHI97IA033.
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Incident occurred Tuesday, November 19, 1996 in CHICAGO, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/04/1998
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300ER-33A, registration: GOITG
Injuries: 140 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

The captain was flying the localizer approach for runway 9R into O'Hare airport, and the first officer was handling radio communications with Chicago Approach Control. The captain said that the frequency was extremely busy, and at no time during the approach did they receive another frequency change. The controller at O'Hare Tower controlling arrivals on runway 9R saw the airplane and inquired on his frequency, 'Alitalia 638 heavy are you with me, sir?' There was no response. The controller repeated the transmission and then broadcasted, 'Alitalia 638 heavy, are you with me, sir, execute a missed approach.' The first officer made a call to what he thought was O'Hare tower that they were on short final. The controller at Chicago Approach Control transmitted, 'short final, go over to tower one two one seven five.' The controller transmitted the instruction two more times. The captain checked the runways, saw no conflicting traffic, and landed the airplane without clearance. Investigation of the Terminal Radar Air Traffic Control facility, Elgin, Illinois, revealed that the controller did not issue the instruction to the airplane to switch over to O'Hare tower's radio frequency.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be:

the approach controller's failure to issue the frequency change to the flightcrew, and the pilot landing without clearance. A factor relating to this incident is the pilot's decision to land without clearance.

Full narrative available

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