An Approach Into Los Angeles International Airport

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On February 1st, 1991 USAir Flight 1493 (USA 1493), a Boeing 737-300 (B-737), was on an approach into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), as part of a scheduled stop prior to completing its journey to San Francisco. USA 1493 was piloted by Captain Colin Shaw who had over 16,000 flight hours and First Officer David Kelly with over 4,000 total flight hours. Meanwhile on the ground at LAX, SkyWest Airlines Flight 5569 (Skywest 5569), a Fairchild Metroliner, had just executed its clearance to taxi to Runway 24L from Gate 32 given by the local controller (LC2) in the LAX tower, and was holding short (NTSB, 1991, p. 5). It was now 6:03PM, about 40 minutes after Sunset, with a cloud deck at 30,000 feet and 15 miles of visibility (NTSB,…show more content…
Once the nose began to lower the two pilots of USA 1493 immediately saw Skywest 5569 sitting on the runway and applied the brakes, but there was no time. At 6:07PM USA 1493 slammed into Skywest 5569, crippling the nose gear of the B-737 and igniting an explosion that resulted in the two aircraft skidding off the left side of the runway and slamming into an unoccupied fire station. 64 passengers, 3 cabin crewmembers, and the First Officer successfully evacuated the burning B-737 (NTSB, 1991, p. 8). Investigation During the investigation, NTSB investigators processed and analyzed voice recordings, toxicology results, conducted meteorological, site surveys and reviewed shift logs as well as airline and airport operating procedures. The voice recordings and operating procedures were the most vital in understanding the diminished situational awareness that took place that day. USA 1493’s FDR and the ATC radio recordings were successfully recovered and would help investigators determine exactly what went wrong on February 1st, 1991 as well as the workload experienced by both pilots and controllers. The captain and crew of USA 1493 were fully qualified and fully staffed for the flight. Witnesses who saw the crew beforehand stated that they appeared to be well rested. The exact same was true for Skywest 5569. The controller for 1493 and 5569 had a total
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