Atlanta Approach Incident

Investigation Details

What Happened

​​On November 29, 2017, about 1106 eastern standard time (EST), Delta Air Lines flight 2196, a Boeing B737-900ER, N852DN, was cleared to land on, and was initially lined up on, runway 09R at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (KATL), Atlanta, Georgia. Radar data indicate that, within about 1 mile of the runway, flight 2196 began to deviate left of the approach course and subsequently aligned with taxiway N. A go-around was initiated after crossing the start of the taxiway. The taxiway was occupied by an airplane at the time, but flight 2196 did not overfly this airplane during the go-around. The incident flight was operating under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Indianapolis International Airport, Indianapolis, Indiana. Daytime instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed at the time of the incident.​

What We Found

​​​The probable cause(s) of this incident was the flight crewmembers’ failure to properly monitor the airplane’s flightpath, which caused the approach to become unstabilized and resulted in the airplane’s descent below the decision altitude while misaligned with the localizer course. Contributing to the incident were the first officer’s delay in setting go-around thrust after the captain called for the go-around and the captain’s failure to take control of the airplane after go-around thrust was not immediately set, both of which caused the airplane to come within about 50 ft vertically of an occupied taxiway.     

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