Los Angeles runway disaster

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USAir Flight 1493 was a scheduled commercial flight that was involved in an accident at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on February 1, 1991, colliding with SkyWest Airlines Flight 5569. Both planes caught fire after the impact and 35 of their occupants died, and another 29 were injured, thirteen of them seriously.

Los Angeles runway disaster
USAir Flight 1493 · SkyWest Airlines Flight 5569
The wreckage of Flight 1493 after the accident.
DateFebruary 1, 1991
SummaryRunway collision caused by ATC error
SiteLos Angeles International Airport LAX
Los Angeles, California
United States

33°56′58″N 118°24′34″W / 33.9494°N 118.4095°W / 33.9494; -118.4095Coordinates: 33°56′58″N 118°24′34″W / 33.9494°N 118.4095°W / 33.9494; -118.4095
Total fatalities35[a]
Total injuries29
Total survivors66
First aircraft

N388US, the Boeing 737 involved in the accident, with previous registration
TypeBoeing 737-3B7
IATA flight No.US1493
ICAO flight No.USA1493
Call signUSAIR 1493
Flight originSyracuse Hancock Int'l Airport
1st stopoverWashington National Airport
2nd stopoverPort Columbus Int'l Airport
Last stopoverLos Angeles Int'l Airport
DestinationSan Francisco Int'l Airport
Injuries29 (12 serious, 17 minor)
Second aircraft

N683AV, the SkyWest Airlines Fairchild Metroliner involved in the accident
TypeFairchild Swearingen Metroliner
OperatorSkyWest Airlines
IATA flight No.OO5569
ICAO flight No.SKW5569
Call signSKYWEST 569
Flight originLos Angeles Int'l Airport
DestinationLA/Palmdale Regional Airport

Investigation[change | change source]

The conclusions of the accident investigation carried out by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), established several causes for the accident.

The fact that the ground radar was out of service on the day of the incident was one such root cause, as it would otherwise have been able to detect the presence of the SkyWest aircraft on the runway in time to alert the incoming US Airways flight. Other decisive factors were the lack of synchronicity between the flight progress tabs available to the controllers and the actual position of the aircraft on the airport runways and taxiways, which made the flight aircraft 5569 received incorrect instructions due to its controller's incorrect perception of its location. The poor night lighting of the runways and the glare problems that this lighting caused in the operators of the airport control tower, reducing their ability to see small aircraft during their maneuvers on the taxiways, was another of the determining factors of the Sinister.

The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the airport administration for not having enough staff to handle landings and takeoffs, especially during night operations.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Although the NTSB's final report only lists 22 "fatal" injuries aboard USAir 1493, a total of 23 people died as a result of the crash. One fatality, a passenger who initially survived the crash but died 31 days later due to burn injuries, was officially recorded by the NTSB as a "serious" injury. In its final report, the NTSB explained that at the time, 49 CFR 830.2 defined "fatal injury" as an injury that results in death within 3 days of an accident. In accordance with regulation, the NTSB counted this deceased passenger among the 12 "serious" injuries.[1]:8 The regulation has since been revised, and as of October 2016, any injury resulting in death within 30 days is now deemed a "fatal injury".[2]
  2. The executive summary of the NTSB report describes "89 passengers, 4 flight attendants, and 2 flight crewmembers" aboard Flight 1493.[1]:1 However, this does not match the contents of the report. The body of the report describes a total of "89 persons aboard the B-737".[1]:30 In addition, the report's section on injuries to persons describes a total of 101 persons involved in the accident, including 12 aboard the Metroliner and 89 aboard the Boeing 737.[1]:8 In addition, shortly after the accident, USAir officials reported to the press that 83 passengers and 6 flight crew were on board Flight 1493.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Aviation Accident Report: Runway Collision of USAir Flight 1493, Boeing 737 and Skywest Flight 5569 Fairchild Metroliner, Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, California, February 1, 1991 (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. October 22, 1991. NTSB/AAR-91/08. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  2. 49 C.F.R. 830.2
  3. Reinhold, Robert (February 3, 1991). "Pilots Dead, Many Missing In Fiery Los Angeles Crash". The New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2016. Of the 83 passengers and 6 crew members aboard USAir Flight 1493, on the way from Columbus, Ohio, to Los Angeles, 19 were still unaccounted for this afternoon, said airline officials.

Other websites[change | change source]