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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-69-007
Details
Synopsis: OUR CONTINUING INVESTIGATION OF THE AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT INVOLVING PUERTO RICO INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES, NEAR SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, ON MARCH 5, 1969, HAS DISCLOSED THE FOLLOWING SALIENT FACTS. ON MARCH 5, AT APPROXIMATELY 1740 A.S.T., PRINAIR FLIGHT 277, A DEHAVILAND HERON, ON A SCHEDULED AIR TAXI FLIGHT, IFR FROM ST. THOMAS, VIRGIN ISLANDS, TO SAN JUAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, CRASHED IN MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN 14 NAUTICAL MILES SOUTHEAST OF THE SAN JUAN VORTAC. NINETEEN PERSONS ABOARD THE AIRCRAFT WERE KILLED, INCLUDING TWO CREW MEMBERS AND SEVENTEEN PASSENGERS. SAN JUAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ELEVATION IS NINE FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL - TERRAIN IN THE AREA OF THE ACCIDENT RISES TO 3,524 FEET M.S.L.
Recommendation: THE BOARD RECOMMENDED: A. ALL AIRCRAFT NOT TRANSPONDER OR DME EQUIPPED OPERATING IN INSTRUMENT FLIGHT CONDITIONS AT THE SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO APPROACH CONTROL AREA BE REQUIRED TO MAINTAIN THE HIGHEST MINIMUM OBSTRUCTION CLEARANCE ALTITUDE (MOCA) FOR THAT AREA UNTIL OVER THE VORTAC. THAT SUCH FLIGHTS DESCEND TO APPROACH MINIMUMS WITHIN 5 MILES OF THE VORTAC WHILE UNDER RADAR CONTROL OR BE ALLOWED TO DESCEND FOLLOWING THE STANDARD INSTRUMENT APPROACH PROCEDURE. B. THAT THE FAA REVIEW APPROACH CONTROL PROCEDURES AT OTHER LOCATIONS WHERE SIMILAR TOPOGRAPHY EXISTS AND APPLY THE FOREGOING PROCEDURE WHERE WARRANTED.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: MIA69A0051
Accident Reports: Puerto Rico International Airlines, Inc., De Havilland Heron 114-2, N563PR
Report #: AAR-70-09
Accident Date: 3/5/1969
Issue Date: 3/17/1969
Date Closed: 4/9/1969
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Air Traffic Control, Approach: Instrument, Procedures, Procedures: Air Traffic Control

Safety Recommendation History
From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/21/1969
Response: -From D.D. Thomas, Acting Administrator: This is in response to the investigation concerning the accident involving PRINAIR's Flight 277 near San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 5, 1969. We agree with the facts documented in your letter of March 17, 1969, as to the events leading up to the accident. Prior to the receipt of your recommendations, we had placed a limitation on the use of the San Juan ASR system in that aircraft shall not be vectored below a line five nautical miles south of the centerline on Route 2. We believe this procedure accomplishes the intent of your recommendation relating to San Juan, and will provide more operational flexibility. We have also issued instructions nationally which stress that controllers should use extreme caution when reidentifying an aircraft after radar contact is lost. The procedure further requires that when a heading is issued for reidentification purposes that the controller shall assure that the heading will not immediately place the aircraft in an area which will require an increased minimum IFR altitude. Further, we have issued a notice to all facilities which stresses the importance of accuracy obstruction altitude information displayed on radar video maps, overlays, and other material used by control personnel. This notice requires that radar video map and overlay alignment are checked at least once each Hatch period. With specific reference to San .Juan, we have thoroughly flight checked the radar since the accident, and have imposed additional restrictions on the use of the radar. These restrictions are not related to the accident, but we wish to take every precautionary measure at that location. We appreciate receiving your recommendations and we will also appreciate any additional thoughts or suggest-ions as your investigation progresses.