Collision With Trees on Final Approach
Federal Express Flight 1478
Boeing 727-232, N497FE
July 26, 2002
NTSB Number AAR-04/02
NTIS Number PB2004-910402
Executive Summary: On July 26, 2002, about 0537 eastern daylight time, Federal Express flight 1478, a Boeing 727-232F, N497FE, struck trees on short final approach and crashed short of runway 9 at the Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH), Tallahassee, Florida. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as a scheduled cargo flight from Memphis International Airport, in Memphis, Tennessee, to TLH. The captain, first officer, and flight engineer were seriously injured, and the airplane was destroyed by impact and resulting fire. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the captains and first officers failure to establish and maintain a proper glidepath during the night visual approach to landing. Contributing to the accident was a combination of the captains and first officers fatigue, the captains and first officers failure to adhere to company flight procedures, the captains and flight engineers failure to monitor the approach, and the first officers color vision deficiency.
The safety issues in this report focus on flight crew performance, flight crew decision-making, pilot fatigue, and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of pilots with color vision deficiencies. Safety recommendations concerning these issues are addressed to the FAA.