Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-01-070
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 additional personnel to accomplish direct oversight of American Airlines' flight training and flight operations, and include the principal operations inspector for American in decisions regarding where these personnel are to be placed.
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: 10/17/2002
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Oversight, Training and Education

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 10/17/2002
Response: The actions taken by the FAA meet the intent of Safety Recommendation A-01-70. Therefore, it is classified "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: FAA
Date: 2/19/2002
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 02/21/2002 7:49:04 PM MC# 2020178 The FAA agrees with the intent of this recommendation and has already added resources to the American Airlines certificate. Additional inspectors will be added to the MD-80 fleet. American Airlines has over 270 MD-80 airplanes and when combined with Trans World Airlines' fleet, the total will be over 350 MD-80 airplanes. At the time this accident, the American Airlines Certificate Management Office's Operations Unit was staffed with 16 inspectors (15 aviation safety inspectors and one POI). Subsequently, the number of inspectors for certification and surveillance of American Airlines has increased to 20 inspectors. To augment the oversight of the MD-80 program, two of the five additional inspectors have been assigned as MD-80 Assistant Aircrew Program Manager. Therefore, there are three inspectors assigned for oversight of the MD-80 training and flight operations. Additionally, the Manager of the American Airlines Certificate Management Office has reassigned some of the administrative oversight responsibilities from the aircrew program managers to allow more time for direct oversight of the MD-80 fleet. The POI has direct involvement in the selection and assignment of these inspectors. In addition, under present policy, once an airline transport oversight systems geographic inspector position is vacated, the Certificate Holding District Office may request a different location for that position through the division managers. The American Airlines Certificate Management Office has used input from the POI to realign the assignment of the operations airline transport oversight systems geographic inspectors. I believe that the FAA has met the full intent of this safety recommendation, and I consider the FAA's action to be completed.