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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-77-063
Details
Synopsis: ON APRIL 4, 1977, SOUTHERN AIRWAYS, INC., FLIGHT 242, A DC-9-31, CRASHED AT NEW HOPE, GEORGIA, AS ITS CREW ATTEMPTED AN EMERGENCY LANDING ON A HIGHWAY; 70 PERSONS DIED AND 24 PERSONS WERE INJURED ASA RESULT. THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD'S INVESTIGATION DISCLOSED THAT THE FLIGHT HAD ENTERED A RELATIVELY SMALL PRECIPITATION AREA CLASSIFIED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE (NWS) AS INTENSE, OR LEVEL-5. THIS SMALL INTENSE AREA WAS PART OF A CONSIDERABLY LARGER AREA OF LESSER INTENSITIES. BY THE TIME THE FLIGHT HAD LEFT THIS SMALL INTENSE AREA, THE LEVEL HAD RISEN TO A LEVEL-6, THE HIGHEST LEVEL CURRENTLY USED BY NWS. THE BOARD BELIEVES THAT HAD THIS INTENSE AREA BEEN IDENTIFIED ADEQUATELY AND IN REAL- TIME TO BOTH THE PILOT AND CONTROLLER, THE FLIGHTPATH OF FLIGHT 242 MIGHT HAVE DIFFERED FROM THAT ACTUALLY FLOWN.
Recommendation: EXPEDITE THE DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF AN AVIATION WEATHER SUBSYSTEM FOR BOTH EN ROUTE AND TERMINAL AREA ENVIRONMENTS, WHICH IS CAPABLE OF PROVIDING A REAL-TIME DISPLAY OF EITHER PRECIPITATION OR TURBULENCE, OR BOTH AND WHICH INCLUDES A MULTIPLE-INTENSITY CLASSIFICATION SCHEME. TRANSMIT THIS INFORMATION TO PILOTS EITHER VIA THE CONTROLLER AS A SAFETY ADVISORY OR VIA AN ELECTRONIC DATA LINK.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: New Hope, GA, United States
Is Reiterated: Yes
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA77AA015
Accident Reports: Southern Airways, Inc., DC-9-31, N1335U
Report #: AAR-78-03
Accident Date: 4/4/1977
Issue Date: 9/20/1977
Date Closed: 6/18/1990
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Air Traffic Control, Weather, Weather Equipment/Products/Reports

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 6/18/1990
Response: (per greensheet A-90-83 thru 85). The NEXRAD program combined with enhanced center weather service units in the air route traffic control centers will satisfy the intent of this recommendation for en route traffic. The TDWR and ASR-9 programs will provide for the real-time detection of precipitation and windshear in the terminal area. Recommendation A-77-63, issued September 27, 1977, is reclassified as "Closed--Acceptable Action."

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/12/1988
Response: The FAA has taken numerous actions to meet the intent of these safety recommendations. There are four major programs that are currently underway that address the safety recommendations. These major programs are the terminal nexrad, terminal doppler weather radar (TDWR), ASR-9, and the advanced automation system (AAS) program. The terminal NEXRAD will provide Doppler weather radar coverage for 16 major airports. These radars will be replaced when the first 45 TDWR's are deployed. The TDWR is designed to provide complete weather protection for the airport. The capability to advise directly the cockpit crew of adverse weather in the airport area is inherent in the TDWR design and will be implemented through use of the mode s data link. The ASR-9 weather channel will make 2 levels of weather data available on the controllers display. A total of 110 radars will be deployed. The AAS is the next generation air traffic control system. A primary subsystem, the sector suite, will provide a fully integrated display of traffic, weather, and aeronautical information. I believe that the FAA has met the intent of these safety recommendations. I urge the Board to classify these recommendations as closed.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 5/15/1987
Response: The Safety Board recognizes that the faa has ongoing programs that, when completed, should satisfy the intent of these recommendations. However, the completion of these program and the determination of their effectiveness are still many years away. Safety board staff became aware of the experimental program being conducted at the FAA's Kansas City ARTCC. This program involved the presentation of FAA or NWS weather radar information on the ATC planned view display (PVD). On June 5, 1986, Safety Board investigators received a briefing of this new radar capability. Safety Board investigators were advised that, if this experimental program is adopted and implemented on a national basis, the broad band radar would be terminated. Unfortunately, a planned field evaluation of this system was not conducted, and to the best of our knowledge no further efforts to test or adopt the system are under consideration by the FAA. The Safety Board believes a system similar to that which was operated at the Kansas City ARTCC should be given full consideration by the FAA. The Safety Board will follow the progress of NEXRAD and the ASR-9.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/30/1987
Response: THE NEXRAD IS IN ITS FINAL STAGE OF EVALUATION. RAYTHEON AND SPERRY SYSTEM ARE BEING EVALUATED BY A JOINT FAA/NA TIONAL WEATHER SERVICE/DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE TEAM TO DETER MINE WHICH BEST MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS. APPROXIMATELY 150 SYSTEMS WILL BE PROCURED AND DEPLOYED THROUGHOUT THE U.S. DURING THE PERIOD FROM 1989 TO 1994. THE ASR-9 SPECIFICATION HAS BEEN FINALIZED AND THE SYSTEM WILL HAVE SIX PRE CIPITATION LEVELS AVAILABLE FOR DISPLAY. ALSO, THE 16 TER MINAL NEXRAD AND THE APPROXIMATELY 100 TERMINAL DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR SYSTEMS WILL HELP SATISFY THIS RECOMMENDATION.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 9/16/1986
Response: The Safety Board has carefully reviewed the integrated wind shear program plan and the two letters from the FAA and finds that the actions concurrently being taken and planned by the FAA will comply with the intent of this safety recommendation

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 9/14/1984
Response: We appreciate being kept informed of the FAA's continuing programs to develop methods of providing both the controller and the pilot with the best weather information available in real time. Safety recommendation a-77-63 remains in an open--acceptable action status.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/13/1984
Response: FAA LETTER REPORTS PROGRESS OF: 1. REMOTING COLOR WEATHER RADAR DATA TO AIR ROUTE TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTERS (ARTCC) AND EN ROUTE FLIGHT ADVISORY SERVICE LOCATIONS. 2. DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR 3. COLOR WEATHER RADAR IN TERMINAL FACILITIES 4. METEOROLOGIST/CENTE WEATHER SERVICE UNITS 5. WEATHER RADAR DISPLAYS FOR ARTCC SECTOR CONTROLLERS

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 5/23/1984
Response:

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 4/10/1981
Response: We would appreciate being kept informed of further significant progress on this recommendation which we are maintaining in an open--acceptable action status.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/17/1981
Response: FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION LTR: LETTER REPORTS PROGRESS OF: REMOTING COLOR WEATHER RADAR DATA TO AIR ROUTE TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTERS (ARTCC) AND EN ROUTE FLIGHT ADVISORY SERVICE LOCATIONS, DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR, COLOR WEATHER RADAR IN TERMINAL FACILITIES, METEOROLOGIST/CENTER WEATHER SERVICE UNITS, AND WEATHER RADAR DISPLAYS FOR ARTCC SECTOR CONTROLLERS.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 12/9/1980
Response: From the aircraft accident report of Air Wisconsin, Inc. Swearingen SA-226 Metro, N650S in Valley, Nebraska on June 12, 1980. The Board adopted this report on 12/9/1980. As a result of this investigation, the Safety Board reiterates the following recommendations: A-75-51, A-77-63, A-77-68, and A-78-1.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 9/12/1980
Response: The FAA's response of October 3, 1979, indicated many actions underway to resolve this recommendation. In order to evaluate its progress and update the public docket, we would appreciate an updated status report.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/3/1979
Response: FAA LTR IN RESPONSE TO NTSB 8/8/79 LETTER OF FOLLOWUP: THE NEED FOR IMPROVED WEATHER DETECTION AND DISPLAY IS RECOGNIZED. AN FY-80 BUDGET WILL PROVIDE EACH ARTCC CONTROLLER WITH DIRECT ACCESS TO A COLOR WEATHER RADAR DISPLAY SHOWING REAL-TIME WEATHER WITH MULTIPLE INTENSITY LEVELS. THIS PROGRAM WILL BE IMPLEMENTED BEGINNING IN 1981 AND COMPLETED SOMETIME IN 1982. FUTURE PLANS CALL FOR REPLACEMENT OF NWS RADARS WITH A DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR SOMETIME IN THE MID-1980'S. THE DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR OR NEXT GENERATION WEATHER RADAR WILL BE A JOINT NWS/FAA/AIR WEATHER SERVICE PROGRAM.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 8/8/1979
Response: On 8/26/78, n41786, pa-28-200, broke up in flight after encountering turbulence associated with a severe thunderstorm over Bolton, NC,. The pilot and his passenger were killed in the crash. During its investigation of this accident the safety board learned that weather information displayed to controllers on the NAS stage A en route radar display was not consistent with the meteorological environment actually being experienced by flightcrews in the area. The Safety Board is concerned about the FAA's plans to phase out all existing broad band radar systems, which presently serve as a backup to the newer band radar. The board believes there is a continuing need for primary radar in the en route system to aid in the detection and mapping of hazardous weather conditions. In the light of continuing occurrences of fatal aircraft accidents where severe weather is involved, the Safety Board believes that the present ARTCC radar systems do not adequately meet the needs of the users of the national airspace system with regard to reliable severe weather avoidance operational requirements. We therefore request that you apprise us of current radar weather detection improvements efforts and future plans.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/1/1978
Response: FAA LTR IN RESPONSE TO NTSB 2/8/78 LTR: WE CONCUR WITH YOUR SUGGESTION THAT THE TEST CURRENTLY BEING CONDUCTED AT THE ATLANTA AIR ROUTE TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTER SHOULD BE CONTINUED THROUGH THE SPRING AND SUMMER SEASON IN ORDER TO TEST ITS EFFECTIVENESS DURING THE PERIOD OF GREATEST THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY. THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRA TION HAD PLANNED TO AND SHALL CONTINUE THE WEATHER RADAR REMOTING SYSTEM EVALUATION THROUGH CY 1978 WITH PARTICULAR EMPHASIS ON THE SUMMER THUNDERSTORM SEASON.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 2/8/1978
Response: The NTSB supports the objectives of this test and believes it may contribute significantly to aviation safety. We believe that the test should be continued through the spring and summer season in order to test its effectiveness during the period of greatest thunderstorm activity. In addition to providing a more comprehensive test of the Weather Radar Remoting System, we beliee there is a potential for saving lives and preventing property damage because of the improved weahter information in the system.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/8/1977
Response: FAA LTR: FAA POINTS OUT THAT THIS RECOMMENDATION HAS BEEN AN ONGOING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROJECT SINCE AUGUST 1975. MUCH HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED, BUT THERE ARE STILL MANY SHORTCOMINGS AND DEFICIENCIES. A $7.6 MILLION FY-79 PROGRAM TO IMPROVE WEATHER DETECTION AND DISPLAY HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED. FAA IS EXPLORING FEASIBILITY OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY TO DEVELOP AN AUTOMATED SYSTEM TO TRANSMIT STORM INTENSITIES.