Opening Our Eyes to Fatigue and Its Role in the Crash of American Airlines Flight 1420

1772 WordsFeb 26, 20187 Pages
The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) Aviation Accident Database lists over six dozen reports in the past 20 years where flight crew fatigue was determined to be a contributing factor in the accident. This constitutes an average of over three accidents per year as a result of flight crew fatigue. The crash of American Airlines Flight 1420 in Little Rock, Arkansas, on 01 June 1999 cited impaired crew performance resulting from fatigue as being the most prevalent of three factors leading to the disaster. After touchdown, the MD-82 failed to stop before the end of the runway and struck part of the ILS localizer array, plowed through a chain link security fence, passed over a rock embankment into a flood plain, and collided with the approach lighting system structure before coming to a rest. The captain and 10 passengers were killed, and the plane was completely destroyed by landing impact forces and a post crash fire. The accident investigation revealed that the crew was completing the third and final leg of a duty day that had begun in Chicago 13 hours earlier. A 2006 survey of short haul pilots revealed that 75% believed they had fatigue bad enough to be considered severe while operating an aircraft. When comparing to the previous two years, 81% reported that their fatigue while on duty had worsened. In addition, the pilots stated that their general overall health, including physical and psychological, had been negatively impacted (Jackson & Earl, 2006).

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