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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-01-060
Details
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: Maintain at least a 48-hour archive of 1-minute runway visual range data.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: LITTLE ROCK, AR, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: 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: 2/28/2011
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Weather, Runway Visual Range, Records

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 2/28/2011
Response: With the completion of the FAA’s activities to modify the Teledyne RVR system to include a data logger that archives data automatically for 48 hours, and as all other RVR systems in the FAA inventory are Tasker-500 RVR systems, in which the data charts are retained for 15 days, the FAA has completed the action recommended. Consequently, Safety Recommendation A-01-60 is classified CLOSED -- ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/27/2010
Response: CC# 201100019: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration has modified the Teledyne Runway Visual Range (RVR) to include a data logger. This modification archives data automatically for 48 hours without the need of human intervention. All remaining RVR systems in the FAA inventory are Tasker-500 RVR systems which are chart recorder systems. Tasker-500 RVR systems produce data in chart format with a retention requirement of 15 days. I believe the FAA has effectively addressed this safety recommendation and I consider our actions complete.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 11/15/2006
Response: The Safety Board notes that the FAA completed the field testing of a prototype modification to the existing RVR system; this modification continually archives 1-minute RVR data for 30 days using a serial data recorder connected to the engineering port. As the FAA indicated in its previous letter, this alternative is preferred over the personal computer solution because it has no application-specific software to maintain, is easier to support logistically, and costs less. The Safety Board commends the FAA for the enhancement of archiving the data for 30 days, exceeding the timeframe called for in the recommendation. The Safety Board also notes that the FAA has identified the necessary funding for national deployment of the serial data recorder solution, and is currently preparing the documentation and procedures needed to field the modification. The FAA informed the Board that it anticipates fielding the modification before the end of 2006. Pending the fielding of appropriate equipment and modifications to all sites to permit the maintenance of l-minute RVR data, Safety Recommendation A-01-60 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. Please update the Safety Board once this effort is complete.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/23/2006
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 2/3/2006 9:11:48 AM MC# 2060065 - From Marion C. Blakey, Administrator: Marion C. Blakey, Administrator, FAA, 1/23/06 Navigational Aids Engineering in Technical Operations Support has completed successful bench testing and is conducting field testing of a prototype modification to the FA- 10268 Runway Visual Range (RVR) system that continually archives I -minute RVR data for 30 days using a serial data recorder connected to the engineering port. Field testing of the prototype modification at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is scheduled to conclude in February 2006. The total cost of this modification is approximately $201,000. The serial data recorder solution is preferred over the previously tested personal computer solution because it has no application specific software to maintain, is easier to support logistically, and costs less. Funding for national deployment of the serial data recorder solution has been identified.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 9/13/2005
Response: The Safety Board notes that the FAA completed field testing of a prototype modification to the existing RVR system that continually archives 1-minute RVR data for 30 days using a personal computer. As the FAA indicated in its previous letter, the FAA continues to investigate an alternative that will cost half the current estimate to implement, require virtually no maintenance, and has a considerably longer life expectancy. The results of testing this alternative are expected in the fall of 2005. The FAA is also preparing the information needed for funding a national deployment of one of these systems. Pending fielding of appropriate equipment and modifications to all sites to permit the maintenance of a 48-hour archive of l-minute RVR data, Safety Recommendation A-01-60 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. We appreciate the update on the FAA's efforts on this issue.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/24/2005
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/5/2005 2:33:30 PM MC# 2050295 - From Marion C. Blakey, Administrator: Navigational Aids Engineering in Technical Operations Support has completed successful field testing of a prototype modification to the FA-10268 Runway Visual Range (RVR) system that continually archives 1-minute RVR data for 30 days using a desktop computer connected to the engineering port. The total cost of this modification is approximately $317,000. New technology now offers an alternative also under consideration by the Federal Aviation Administration that will cost half the current estimate to implement, requires virtually no maintenance, and has a considerably longer life expectancy than that of a laptop. Testing of this new item should begin this summer with results expected in the fall of 2005. Funding for national deployment of a modification is being sought.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 3/8/2005
Response: The Safety Board notes that the FAA completed field testing of a prototype modification to the existing RVR system that continually archives 1-minute RVR data for 30 days using a personal computer. The FAA estimates that 243 modification kits are needed to upgrade all RVR equipment, and that each modification kit will cost approximately $1,000. The RVR system's original manufacturer, Teledyne, is investigating other economical solutions to archive this data. The Board further notes that the FAA anticipates Teledyne's proposed solutions, with estimated costs, will be available in the second quarter of fiscal year 2005, and that the FAA is seeking funding for national deployment of a modification. Pending fielding of appropriate equipment and modifications to all sites to permit the maintenance of a 48-hour archive of l-minute RVR data, Safety Recommendation A-01-60 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/13/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 1/3/2005 1:42:10 PM MC# 2040737 - From Marion C. Blakey, Administrator: Navigational Aids Engineering in Technical Operations Support has completed successful field testing of a prototype modification to the FA-10268 Runway Visual Range (RVR) system that continually archives 1-minute RVR data for 30 days using a personal computer connected to the engineering port. The field test was conducted July 30 through October 28, 2004. The cost of the modification kit is approximately $1,000 per RVR. An estimated 243 modification kits are needed to upgrade the FA-10268 RVRs in the National Airspace System. Other economical solutions to archiving 1 minute RVR data are being investigated by Teledyne Corporation, the original manufacturer of the FA-10268 RVR. It is anticipated that Teledyne's proposed solutions with estimated costs will be available in the second quarter of fiscal year 2005. The FAA is seeking funding for national deployment of a modification.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 8/25/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the FAA designed, developed, and successfully bench tested a prototype modification to existing RVR systems that will capture the data as recommended. The FAA plans to do field testing from July to September 2004. Pending completion of the testing and fielding of appropriate equipment to all sites to permit the maintenance of a 48-hour archive of l-minute RVR data, Safety Recommendation A-01-60 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/15/2004
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/26/2004 1:17:39 PM MC# 2040442 - From Marion C. Blakey, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has designed, developed, and successfully bench tested a prototype modification to the existing Teledyne Type FA-10268 Runway Visual Range (RVR) system that continually archives l-minute RVR data for 30 days using a personal computer connected to the engineering port. Preliminary testing was completed in June 2004 at the FAA's Technical Operations Services' Support Facility in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The FAA plans to conduct a prototype field test at the Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, from July through September 2004. Other solutions to archiving 1-minute RVR data are being investigated under a contract with Teledyne Corporation. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on this safety recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 3/19/2004
Response: The Safety Board notes that the FAA has designed, developed, and is currently bench testing a prototype modification to the existing RVR system that continually archives l-minute RVR data for 2 months. Testing of the prototype modification is scheduled to be complete in May 2004, and national deployment of the prototype is planned in 2005. The Board appreciates this update. Pending fielding to all sites of at least 48-hour archiving for 1-minute RVR data, Safety Recommendation A-01-60 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/29/2003
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 1/29/2004 12:26:53 PM MC# 2040044 - From Marion C. Blakey, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has designed, developed, and is currently bench testing a prototype modification to the existing Teledyne Type FA-10268 Runway Visual Range (RVR) that continually archives l-minute RVR data for 2 months. The modification captures and archives the data from the engineering port of the FA-10268 RVR data processing unit. Testing of the prototype modification is scheduled to be complete in May 2004, and national deployment of the prototype is planned in 2005. There are currently 237 Teledyne FA-10268 RVRs that will have 48 hour archive of 1 -minute RVR data included in the new design. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on this safety recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 3/28/2003
Response: The Safety Board notes that the FAA agrees with this recommendation, that it is has been working on this project, and that a preliminary evaluation has been completed. According to the FAA's evaluation, changes to the hardware and software will be required, and the FAA anticipates that a prototype modification will be available for field-testing in 2005. The Board commends the FAA for the work that is being done in response to this recommendation, but notes the delay for field-testing of a prototype. Pending development and full-field deployment of a 48-hour archive of 1-minute RVR data, Safety Recommendation A-01-60 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 2/20/2003
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 3/3/2003 10:36:30 AM MC# 2030112 - From Marion C. Blakey, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) agrees that it would be desirable for the archiving function to provide 1 -minute runway visual range data for the recommended 48 hours. The FAA is working on this project and a preliminary evaluation has been completed. The preliminary evaluation indicates that changes to the hardware and software will be required. It is anticipated that the prototype modification will be available for field testing in 2005. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on this safety recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 10/17/2002
Response: The Board thanks the FAA for clarifying the RVR archiving capability and for its plans to evaluate the feasibility of including the recommended capability into new and existing equipment. Pending the FAA's taking the recommended action, Safety Recommendation A-01-60 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 2/19/2002
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 02/21/2002 7:49:04 PM MC# 2020178 - From Jane F. Garvey, Administrator: The Board's concern was not having access to the l-minute RVR data for this accident. The Board has a misconception that the RVR archiving capability is limited to 2 hours for l-minute intervals. This is not accurate. The RVR archives l-minute data for 5 hours once an event is logged. However, the archiving function requires manual initiation within the 5-hour window. Manual initiation can be done by anyone with a security clearance of two or better access to the RVR system. Currently, RVR data is archived on a sliding time scale from incident initiation as follows: going backward from the incident time 0 -- 2-second data for 30 seconds; l-minute data for 5 hours; 5-minute data for 7 hours; and l-hour data for up to 15 days. In this case, the responsible technician should have manually initiated the archiving function within 5 hours of the incident to allow the system to have a record of l-minute RVR data throughout the entire incident time period. It appears that the incident archive was initiated more than 5-hours after the incident resulting in the l-minute data being overwritten by the 5-minute data. The FAA agrees that it would be desirable for the archiving function to provide l-minute RVR data for the recommended 48 hours. The FAA is formulating the development and acquisition of new RVR equipment and will evaluate the possibility of incorporating this requirement in the new design. The FAA is also examining the cost and feasibility of maintaining a 48-hour archive of l-minute runway RVR data with modifications to existing RVR equipment.