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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-01-057
Synopsis: On June 1, 1999, at 2350:44 central daylight time, American Airlines flight 1420, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82), N215AA, crashed after it overran the end of runway 4R during landing at Little Rock National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas. Flight 1420 departed from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas, about 2240 with 2 flight crewmembers, 4 flight attendants, and 139 passengers aboard and touched down in Little Rock at 2350:20. After departing the end of the runway, the airplane struck several tubes extending outward from the left edge of the instrument landing system localizer array, located 411 feet beyond the end of the runway; passed through a chain link security fence and over a rock embankment to a flood plain, located approximately 15 feet below the runway elevation; and collided with the structure supporting the runway 22L approach lighting system. The captain and 10 passengers were killed; the first officer, the flight attendants, and 105 passengers received serious or minor injuries; and 24 passengers were not injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. Flight 1420 was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Provide U.S. air carriers operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 access to Terminal Doppler Weather Radar, at airports where the system is available, and access to the Weather Systems Processor, when it becomes available, so that their flight dispatch offices can use this information in planning, releasing, and following flights during periods in which hazardous weather might impact safety of flight.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: LITTLE ROCK, AR, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: DCA99MA060
Accident Reports: Runway Overrun During Landing, American Airlines Flight 1420, McDonnell Douglas MD-82
Report #: AAR-01-02
Accident Date: 6/1/1999
Issue Date: 12/10/2001
Date Closed: 1/14/2004
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Dispatch, RADAR, Weather, Weather Equipment/Products/Reports

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 1/14/2004
Response: The FAA staff noted that access to weather radar information for the air carriers is now available to the public through an Internet service provided by ARINC, Inc., which is widely used by the air carriers. The service provides ready access to Terminal Doppler Weather Radar and the Weather Systems Processor, where they are available. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation A-01-57 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: NTSB
Date: 10/17/2002
Response: The FAA states that it has already made TDWR and WSP available to air carriers but that air carriers have not accepted and followed through since they would have to assume the costs of acquiring this information. The FAA further states that it will continue to make available and actively promote the use of this data within the air carrier industry. To better understand what the costs to the airlines would be, and what technical issues need to be resolved, the Board asks the FAA to supply copies of announcements or other supporting information that were distributed to airlines announcing this capability and describing what was needed to access the data. Pending the receipt of this information, Safety Recommendation A-01-57 is classified "Open--Acceptable Response."

From: FAA
Date: 2/19/2002
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 02/21/2002 7:49:04 PM MC# 2020178 The FAA has already made TDWR and WSP available to air carriers. Air carriers have not accepted and followed through since they would have to assume the costs. However, the FAA has completed action on this safety recommendation since it has provided the capability. The TDWR was engineered, designed, and fielded as a system for use by FAA air traffic control personnel. The TDWR was not intended for use by other governmental entities. It was not engineered with the capability built in for wide data distribution even within the government. Consequently, data ports are extremely limited. The FAA has offered the use of TDWR data to 14 CFR Part 121 air carriers and other users. It is the carrier's responsibility to take advantage of this offer. To date, interest from the carriers has been minimal. The WSP was engineered with the wide distribution of data and has eight user ports built into the system. Industry has expressed interest in using WSP data, but has been reluctant to commit any funds to develop and operate a distribution system to do so. The FAA will continue to make available and actively promote the use of this data within the industry. However, the FAA has met the full intent of this safety recommendation, and I consider the FAA's action to be completed.