NTSB Identification: OPS06IA001.
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Incident occurred Wednesday, November 09, 2005 in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2006
Aircraft: Boeing 737-400, registration:
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.
The pilot of Comair flight 5026 (COM26), a Canadair Regional Jet, reported a near-collision with US Airways flight 1251 (USA1251), a Boeing 737-400. At the time of the incident, COM26 was holding in takeoff position on runway 9L, and USA1251 was on approach to runway 9L. USA1251 contacted the Fort Lauderdale (FLL) tower at 2342, and was cleared to land on runway 9L. The local controller advised that there would be several departures before USA1251's arrival, and the pilot acknowledged. At 2342:48, the controller cleared a Southwest flight for takeoff and instructed Comair 716 (COM716) to taxi into position and hold, advising the pilot that there was arrival traffic on 9-mile final. At 2343:52, the controller cleared COM716 for takeoff and instructed COM26 to taxi into position and hold on runway 9L, advising the pilot of COM26 that there was arrival traffic on 4-mile final. At 2344:46, COM716 was instructed to contact departure control. At 2344:52, the controller advised an arriving Gulfstream jet that they were number 2 for the runway, following a 737 on 2-mile final. At 2345:15, the controller began a series of exchanges with a helicopter that was 38 miles from FLL and trying to contact Miami approach control. At 2345:48, USA1251 asked if they were cleared to land; the controller responded, "USA1251 cleared to land runway 9L." Immediately, an unidentified voice on the frequency stated, "Traffic on 9 left." The controller transmitted, "USAir go around, USAir go around, USAir 1251 go around." USA1251 did go around, and, according to recorded radar data, passed about 100 feet above COM26. After USA1251 was given back to Miami approach for resequencing, the flight returned and landed uneventfully. The LCN controller notified the tower supervisor of the incident as soon as it occurred, and she initiated a quality assurance review (QAR) that was logged in the Daily Record of Facility Operation. According to the QAR summary, the supervisor interviewed both the local and ground controllers and reviewed the tape, concluding that there was no loss of separation between USA1251 and COM26 because USA1251 was instructed to go around when approximately one mile from the runway. The pilot of COM26 filed a near midair collision report with FLL tower on the day after the incident. At the time of the incident, the Local Control North (LCN) controller was responsible for both the LCN and Local Control South (LCS) positions, and was therefore required to monitor operations on all runways. The tower is located between runways 9L and 9R, so the LCN controller was therefore required to divide his attention in opposite directions while handling aircraft on both of those runways. Runway 9L is normally used for jet traffic, and runway 9R is normally used for general aviation traffic. While USA1251 was on approach there were multiple departures and arrivals operating on runway 9L, and a Seneca waiting to depart on runway 9R. Neither aircraft was damaged, and there were no reported injuries. Weather conditions at FLL at 2253 UTC were reported as wind 060 at 12 knots, visibility 10 miles, with scattered clouds at 3,500 feet.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be: the local controller's failure to monitor the operation and recognize a developing traffic conflict which resulted in a loss of separation between USA1251 and ComAir 5026. Contributing to the accident was the controller's incorrect prioritization of his workload. Full narrative available
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