NTSB Identification: LAX97FA164.
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Scheduled 14 CFR operation of AMERICA WEST AIRLINES
Accident occurred Friday, April 18, 1997 in LAS VEGAS, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/04/1998
Aircraft: Boeing 737-3S3, registration: N313AW
Injuries: 1 Serious,124 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
Beech 99 (B99) departed on VFR flight (flt) & began climb to 10,500', heading 175 deg. At boundary of class B airspace, ATC controller (TRACON) terminated radar service as B99 was at 7,000'; 40 sec later, pilots (plts) of Boeing 737 (B737) contacted TRACON, on Cresso 3 Arrival (STAR), & were cleared to descend to 10,000' on converging vector of 020 deg; 50 sec later, TRACON advised B737 of traffic (B99), 3 mi ahead, opposite direction & 1,700' lower. TRACON did not mention traffic was climbing, nor issue safety alert; 18 sec later, TRACON told B737 plts they could 'climb as you wish.' 1st officer (FO, plt flying TCAS equipped B737) responded to a resolution advisory by using autopilot & neglected to press 'level change,' which delayed avoidance maneuver. B737 plts saw B99 at close range; FO maneuvered abruptly to avert collision. B737 flight attendant was injured during maneuver. B99 plt saw B737 behind window post, too late for evasive action. Aircraft passed with estimated 200' vertical & no lateral separation (sepn). TCAS event analysis concluded that if B737 pilots had responded to TCAS advisories, within system design parameters, there would have been 700' vertical sepn without abrupt maneuvering. STAR was in heavily traveled area, often used by plts of small VFR aircraft.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: inadequate service provided by the TRACON controller, by issuing a radar vector to the Boeing 737 flight, which resulted in inadequate separation from a Beech 99 that the controller had just terminated from radar service; and failure of the controller to provide adequate traffic/safety advisories to the Boeing 737 crew. Additional causes were the delayed initiation of a TCAS evasive maneuver by the first officer (copilot) of the Boeing 737, and failure of the Boeing 737 Captain to adequately supervise the response of the first officer to the TCAS resolution advisory. Inadequate visual lookout by the Beech 99 pilot was a related factor. Full narrative available
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