Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-95-052
Details
Synopsis: On 7/2/94, about 1843 eastern daylight time, a Douglas DC-9-31, N954VJ, operated by USAIR, Inc., as flight 1016, collided with trees and a private residence near the Charlotte/ Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina, shortly after the flightcrew executed a missed approach from the instrument landing system approach to runway 18R. The captain, first officer, one flight attendant, and one passenger received minor injuries. Two flight attendants and 14 passengers sustained serious injuries. The remaining 37 passengers received fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed. Flight 1016 was being conducted under 14 code of federal regulations part 121 as a regularly scheduled passenger flight from Columbia, South Carolina, to Charlotte.
Recommendation: TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE: Reevaluate, in cooperation with FAA, the CWSU program, and develop procedures to enable meteorologist to disseminate info about rapidly developing hazardous weather conditions, such as thunderstorms and low altitude windshear, to FAA TRACONs and tower facilities immediately upon detection.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: CHARLOTTE, NC, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA94MA065
Accident Reports: Flight into Terrain during Missed Approach USAir 1016, DC-9-31, N954VJ
Report #: AAR-95-03
Accident Date: 7/2/1994
Issue Date: 5/16/1995
Date Closed: 4/27/2011
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Air Traffic Control, Procedures, Procedures: Air Traffic Control, Weather

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
Date: 4/27/2011
Response: Safety Recommendation A-95-48 was issued to the FAA as a companion to Safety Recommendation A-95-52. On February 15, 2011, the FAA provided an update on actions taken in response to the latter recommendation. The FAA had previously informed the NTSB that, together with the NWS, it had completed an assessment of the CWSU program that identified a number of shortcomings and necessary improvements, including the issues specified in this recommendation. The NWS and the FAA were planning to revise the CWSU program to address the issues identified by the assessment. Although the revisions to CWSU program are not yet complete, the NTSB is aware that, in July 2010, a short-term plan was implemented to ensure standardized, consistent, measurable, and continuous operations. We recognize that CWSUs operate 16 hours per day, 7 days per week and that the NWS Weather Forecast Office provides support for the remaining 8 hours of the day. In addition, CWSUs now provide finer resolution forecast information for TRACONs. In view of the age of this recommendation—Safety Recommendation A-95-52 is now 16 years old—the NTSB considered whether the actions taken by the NWS to date meet the intent of the recommendation. The NWS worked with the FAA to reevaluate the CWSU program and developed and implemented procedures that enable meteorologists to disseminate information about rapidly developing hazardous weather conditions to TRACONs and tower facilities immediately upon detection. Therefore, although the NWS and the FAA continue to make further improvements to the CWSU program, Safety Recommendation A-95-52 is classified CLOSED – ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: NTSB
To: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
Date: 3/25/2002
Response: The NWS and FAA's efforts to establish a standardized concept of operations for the CWSUs should result in the timely reporting of hazardous weather situations to FAA terminals within the Air Route Traffic Control Center area of responsibility. Staff understands that the updated concept is scheduled for completion in mid-2002, and that the FAA will then revise Order 7210.38A, CWSU, to standardize CWSU operations nationally. Safety Recommendation A-95-52 remains classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE, pending accomplishment of these final steps. Thank you for your cooperation and your work with the FAA on this recommendation. I look forward to receiving an update of the revised order from you when it is published.

From: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
To: NTSB
Date: 10/19/2001
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 01/23/2002 8:40:11 PM MC# 2020075 - From John J. Kelly, Jr.: Assistant Administrator for Weather Services: This recommendation has previously been addressed by the National Weather Service in responses of September 8, 1995, November 17, 1997, August 28, 2000, and April 5, 2001. An updated, supplementary response follows: We met with your staff (from AS-30 and SR-10) on September 26th to discuss this recommendation. We understand there are two primary issues related to this recommendation: 1) There is not a consistent national concept of operations for CWSUs. 2) There is no process for quickly disseminating critical weather information (primarily related to thunderstorms) from the FAA Air Route Traffic Control Centers. In our most recent response, we noted the final concept of operations for CWSU weather forecaster duties is the responsibility of the FAA. The current (loosely defined) CWSU concept of operations does not contain language to indicate CWSU forecasters are responsible for monitoring and disseminating hazardous weather information to the various terminals within the Air Route Traffic Control Center area of responsibility, especially to the level envisioned in recommendation A-95-52. Presently, the CWSU weather forecaster's primary mission is to support en route air traffic operations. The NWS does intend to work with the FAA on updating the FAA's CWSU concept of operations, with a completion date of early 2002. The updated concept of operation will include a complete review of forecaster duties and responsibilities. We will also ensure all current forecaster produced products issued at the CWSU will be included in the FAA's updated automated information dissemination plan.

From: NTSB
To: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
Date: 8/7/2001
Response: The NWS reports that because it provides weather forecasters to the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC) on a reimbursable basis, the concept of operations for weather support within the ARTCC is driven solely by the FAA. The NWS believes it is beyond the scope of its present concept of operations for Center Weather Service Units (CWSU) weather forecasters to provide continuous weather information services to support terminal operations. The NWS states that any increase in the scope of responsibilities for CWSU forecasters requires additional FAA direction. The NWS further states that, although the NWS and the FAA routinely discuss CWSU operations, the FAA has reserved the right to make the final decision regarding any changes to the CWSU concept of operations. The Safety Board acknowledges that the FAA funds the CWSU program and makes final decisions regarding the program. In recognition of this, the Safety Board issued a similar companion recommendation (A-95-48) to the FAA. However, the Safety Board does not believe that the concept of operations for weather support within the ARTCC is driven solely by the FAA. As the NWS states, it routinely discusses CWSU operations with the FAA. As part of these routine discussions, the Board believes that the NWS and the FAA should discuss the issues in Safety Recommendations A-95-52 and -48 and make plans to address these issues. In the 6 years since this recommendation was issued, the NWS has provided the Safety Board with few updates on the status of its actions. On January 5, 2001, the Board requested that the NWS provide a schedule of all activities being taken in response to this recommendation, including intermediate and final products. The Board would also appreciate learning of any activities proposed by the NWS for which the FAA has not been able to provide the necessary resources. Pending the Safety Board's receipt of the schedule of activities being taken in response to this recommendation, as requested in our January 5, 2001, letter, and completion of the recommended action, Safety Recommendation A-95-52 is classified OPEN -- UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
To: NTSB
Date: 4/5/2001
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 04/09/2001 8:13:37 PM MC# 2010297 - John E. Jones, Jr., Deputy Assistant Administrator for Weather Services: This recommendation has previously been addressed by the National Weather Service in responses of September 8, 1995, November 17, 1997, and August 28, 2000. An updated, supplementary response follows: There appears to be a misunderstanding regarding the NWS responses to recommendation A-95-52 and the FAA responses to recommendation A-95-48, which are related to the same issue. The NWS provides weather forecasters to the FAA's Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC) on a reimbursable basis. As such, the concept of operations for weather support within the ARTCC is driven solely by the FAA. It is beyond the scope of the present concept of operations for weather forecasters to provide continuous weather information services to support terminal operations. Any increase in the scope of responsibilities for CWSU forecasters would require additional FAA direction. Although the NWS and the FAA routinely discuss CWSU operations, the FAA has reserved the right to make the final decision regarding any changes to the CWSU concept of operations. We recommend, therefore, closure of NWS recommendation A-95-52, while we will continue to work with the FAA on developing a satisfactory response to FAA recommendation A-95-48.

From: NTSB
To: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
Date: 1/5/2001
Response: The Safety Board is concerned that in the 5 1/2 years since this recommendation was issued, the NWS appears to have made little progress in implementing the recommended actions. The Board is also concerned that many of the actions taken by the NWS in response to this recommendation were reported by the FAA but not by the NWS. The NWS described ITWS but noted that it still remains at least 2 years away from full implementation. The NWS indicated no milestones or scheduled delivery dates for activities being taken in response to this recommendation. Therefore, the Board requests that NWS provide, within 3 months, a schedule of all activities being taken in response to this recommendation, including intermediate and final products. Pending the Board's receipt of this information, A-95-52 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
To: NTSB
Date: 8/28/2000
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 09/05/2000 3:51:31 PM MC# 2001217 - From John E. Jones, Jr., Deputy Assistant Administrator for Weather Services: This recommendation has previously been addressed by the NWS in our responses of 9/8/95 and 11/17/97. An updated, supplementary response follows. The NWS continues to work with the FAA to identify the future goals and responsibilities of the Center Weather Service Units (CWSU). In November 1999, the FAA published a Decision-Based Weather Needs for the Air Route Traffic Control Center Traffic Management Unit Document. The document identifies the specific weather needs of the FAA in the airport terminal, arrival, and departure areas, and over enroute areas. To meet the stated needs, new products and services must be developed and implemented. The NWS and the FAA have agreed to form a working team to address this matter. In February 1997, the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security issued its final report. The federal government and private industry have worked together since that time to reach the Commission's proposed safety goal of reducing the aviation fatal accident rate through the year 2007. Among the programs developed to reach this goal are the Aviation Weather Information Project (AWIN), Safer Skies, the Joint Safety Analysis Team (JSAT), and the Joint Safety Implementation Team (JSIT). The NWS remains committed to working with the FAA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and private industry to develop operational strategies to implement the goals outlined by the Commission. Additionally, the Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) has been developed by the FAA to produce fully automated and integrated terminal weather information for aviation operations. ITWS acquires data from current FAA and NWS sensors and from aircraft in the terminal area. ITWS also interfaces with the sensors to provide Air Traffic Control personnel with current and short-term predictions of significant weather events. The end-users of ITWS information are Air Traffic personnel in Airport Traffic Control Tower (ATCT), Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), and Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) facilities, pilots and CWSU meteorologists. The FAA plans to implement ITWS through 2003. ITWS will provide immediate information on rapidly developing weather hazards, such as thunderstorms and low-level altitude wind shear, to FAA personnel and CWSU meteorologists.

From: NTSB
To: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
Date: 7/26/2000
Response: NMC# 100365: The Safety Board received a letter from the NWS dated 11/17/97, concerning this recommendation. The Safety Board would appreciate learning of any further actions the NWS has taken or intends to take to address A-95-52, A-95-138, and A-95-140.

From: NTSB
To: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
Date: 4/15/1998
Response: The Safety Board agrees with the NWS that the CWSU's play a significant role in maintaining air safety. Therefore, the Safety Board will continue to closely monitor the CWSU program and its changes. Pending review of the NWS's final actions regarding identifying future goals and responsibilities of the CWSU's, identifying any deficiencies in the CWSU program, and instituting any necessary improvements in the CWSU program, Safety Recommendation A-95-52 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
To: NTSB
Date: 11/17/1997
Response: MC# 971541: - From Robert S. Winokur, Acting Assistant Administrator for Weather Services: The NWS fully addressed this Recommendation in its previous response of September 8, 1995. As indicated in this response, which was fully coordinated with the FAA, the NWS and FAA remain fully committed and are continually working to improve the weather detection and dissemination capabilities of the CWSU's. In this regard, our response to Safety Recommendation A-86-81 about the recent or planned technological advances related to weather data acquisition and dissemination capabilities, is also applicable to this Recommendation. We believe that the aforementioned activities, combined with an adherence to existing operational directives affecting the CWSU and continued reliance on the prudent judgment and discretion of the CWSU meteorologist, represent the best way to meet the intent of this Safety Recommendation. Additionally, and relevant to this Recommendation, the President has directed the National and Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA) to lead a multiagency effort whose purpose is to reduce the aircraft accident rate by a factor of 10 in the next 10 years. The NWS is taking an active role, together with the NASA and FAA, to help realize this goal. Another effort relevant to this recommendation, and in response to a report by the National Research Council, is the formation of the FAA's Aviation Weather Division. The primary purpose of the Division is to define and implement aviation weather requirements. The FAA is currently gathering information on requirements for the CWSU program for the purpose of furthering its mission to separate aircraft from hazardous weather. The NWS recognizes that the CWSU's play a significant role in maintaining air safety. Accordingly, the NWS, in coordination with the FAA, will continue to closely monitor and evaluate CWSU program capabilities in the provision of timely weather advice to FAA air traffic management within the Air Route Traffic Control Center and to satellite air traffic control facilities within the Center's area of responsibility.

From: NTSB
To: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
Date: 6/2/1997
Response: Our records indicate that although the Board initially received a response from your agency concerning these recommendations, we have not since received acknowledgment that these recommendations have been implemented. If we do not receive a response from you within 45 days, this recommendation will be classified "Closed--Unacceptable Action."

From: NTSB
To: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
Date: 12/6/1995
Response: The Board notes that the NWS and the FAA are continually evaluating the CWSU program and remain fully committed to improving the weather detection and dissemination capabilities of the CWSUS. However, the board continues to believe that the NWS, in conjunction with the FAA, must make a timely, detailed, and comprehensive effort to reevaluate the current CWSU program. The NWS and FAA need to identify future goals and responsibilities of the CWSU, identify deficiencies in the program, and institute improvements as necessary. These improvements would include the detection and real-time dissemination of critical weather info by the CWSUS. Although the board appreciates the details you provided on the CWSUS, including the current activity regarding enhanced weather systems and advanced automated technology for the CWSUS, it does not believe that the actions noted in your letter are responsive to A-95-52. Pending further correspondence on NWS plans to reevaluate the CWSU program and the results of that effort, A-95-52 is classified OPEN – UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service
To: NTSB
Date: 9/8/1995
Response: MC# 950951: - From Elbert W. Friday, Jr., Assistant Administrator for Weather Services, Department of Commerce: Evaluation of the CWSU program by the NWS, in cooperation with the FAA, is an ongoing process. The NWS and FAA remain fully committed, and are continually working to improve the weather detection and dissemination capabilities of the CWSUA.