NTSB Identification: FTW97IA187.
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Scheduled 14 CFR operation of CONTINENTAL AIRLINES, INC.
Incident occurred Sunday, May 11, 1997 in CORPUS CHRISTI, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/04/1998
Aircraft: Boeing 737-524, registration: N16618
Injuries: 59 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 flight was issued vectors to intercept the final approach course of Runway 31 at Corpus Christi International Airport, and was cleared for the localizer 31 approach. The first officer was manipulating the controls, the In-Range and Approach checklists were completed, and the approach was briefed. A previous aircraft had requested the ILS RWY 13 approach and the tower controller had switched the ILS localizer from 31 to 13. After the completion of the approach, the tower controller did not reselect the localizer 31 approach. The flightcrew tuned in the localizer for Runway 31; however, they did not identify it by morse code. The captain reported that the localizer for Runway 31 was intercepted, 'although at the very beginning the course deviation bar did a couple of full scale deflections, but locked on 7 miles southeast' of the final approach fix. The aircraft was in and out of a broken cloud layer at 2,000 feet msl and the visibility was about 5 to 6 miles. After verifying all instruments were properly configured for the approach, the captain looked outside and 'saw a runway at the northern edge of the cloud they were in and out of.' The runway also had the number 31 painted on its approach end. The captain reported the field in sight to approach control and he was instructed to contact tower control. Tower cleared the flight to land. The flight landed at Cabaniss Field which is a Navy auxiliary field located 5 nautical miles southeast of Corpus Christi International Airport. Cabaniss is located on the final approach course for Runway 31 to Corpus Christi. The first officer had just completed ground and simulator differences training for the Boeing 737-300/500 series aircraft, and this was the first flight of his initial operating experience (IOE) for differences training in the aircraft. The first officer had never been to Corpus Christi, and it had been three years since the captain had been there.

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

The flightcrew's inadequate in-flight planning and decision, and their failure to refer to the navaids needed for the instrument approach procedure. A factor was the lack of a minimum safe altitude warning from approach control.

Full narrative available

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