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On 8/6/97, about 0142:26 Guam local time, Korean Air flight 801, a Boeing 747-3b5b (747-300), Korean registration HL7468, operated by Korean Air Company, Ltd., crashed at Nimitz Hill, Guam. Flight 801 departed from Kimpo International Airport, Seoul, Korea, with 2 pilots, 1 flight engineer, 14 flight attendants, and 237 passengers on board. The airplane had been cleared to land on runway 6l at A.B. Won Guam International Airport, Agana, Guam, and crashed into high terrain about 3 miles southwest of the airport. Of the 254 persons on board, 228 were killed, and 23 passengers and 3 flight attendants survived the accident with serious injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. Flight 801 was operating in U.S. airspace as a regularly scheduled international passenger service flight under the convention on international civil aviation and the provisions of 14 code of federal regulations (CFR) part 129 and was on an instrument flight rules flight plan.
TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Issue guidance to air carriers to ensure that pilots periodically perform nonprecision approaches during line operations in daytime visual condition in which such practice would not add a risk factor.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action
NIMITZ HILL, GU, United States
Controlled Flight Into Terrain, Korean Air Flight 801, Boeing 747-300, HL7468
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FAA (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Safety Recommendation History
The FAA's proposed response, to always use constant angle, constant rate-of-descent flightpaths when conducting nonprecision approaches, eliminates the need for flight crews to periodically perform nonprecision approaches during line operations. With the issuance of AC 120-71 and FSATs 99-08, 00-08, and 00-18, the FAA has addressed this recommendation through alternate actions. Consequently, Safety Recommendation A-00-11 is classified "Closed--Acceptable Alternate Action."
Letter Mail Controlled 08/29/2001 4:02:04 PM MC# 2010694: The FAA has completed a study and analysis that has provided an industrywide strategy to end the traditional step-down nonprecision approaches. Instead of more training or more practice in step-down approaches associated with controlled flight into terrain accidents, the air carrier industry, the FAA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Joint Airworthiness Authorities (JAA), Transport Canada, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have determined that constant angle, constant rate-of- descent flight paths should always be used when conducting nonprecision approaches. This procedure applies regardless of the level of technology in the flight deck unless specific local conditions dictate otherwise. In those cases, special training and special operating procedures would apply. Accordingly, a stabilized approach is recommended by the FAA as a standard operating procedure for air carrier operators of transport-category airplanes and is widely implemented by 14 CFR Part 121 operators. The stabilized approach is among the pilot performance standards to be required in the proposed notice of proposed rulemaking proposing to revise 14 CFR Part 121, Subparts N and O. A key element of the FAA's decision to adopt a stabilized approach as a standard operating procedure is that every approach, precision or nonprecision, would be conducted in a manner that would be stable, standard, and familiar to the pilot. The complexity and danger of the step-down approach would be absent because every approach would be conducted with a constant angle, constant rate-of-descent stabilized approach profile. No special practice during line operations would be necessary because all approaches would be essentially the same in training and in line operations. General guidance to air carriers with respect to the stabilized approach has been issued in AC 120-71, Standard Operating Procedures for Flightdeck Crewmembers, and through Flight Standards Information Bulletin for Air Transportation 00-08, Standard Operating Procedures for Flightdeck Crewmembers (AC 120-71), Including Stabilized Approach. I have enclosed copies of the AC and the bulletin for the Board's information. Additional guidance to air carriers regarding the stabilized approach using flight management systems with vertical navigation (VNAV) capability has also been issued in Flight Standards Handbook Bulletin for Air Transportation 99-08, Vertical Navigation (VNAV) Approach Procedures Using DA(H); OpSpec C073, and Flight Standards Handbook Bulletin for Air Transportation 00-18, Use of BARO-VNAV for Published Instrument Approach Procedures; OpSpec C052 Revision. I have enclosed copies of these bulletins for the Board's information. I believe that the FAA has addressed the full intent of this safety recommendation, and I consider the FAA's action to be completed.
THE SAFETY BOARD IS UNAWARE OF SPECIFIC RESEARCH OR ACTION BY THE FAA UNDER THESE PROGRAMS TO ADDRESS THE BOARD'S CONCERNS ABOUT MONITORED APPROACHES AND PILOT PROFICIENCY IN CONDUCTING THE CURRENT NON-PRECISION PROCEDURES; HOWEVER, THE BOARD WELCOMES ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM THE FAA ABOUT THESE CONCERNS. PENDING THE RESULTS OF THE FAA'S RESEARCH ON USE OF THE MONITORED APPROACH METHOD AND THE RESULTS OF THE CFIT TEAM'S IMPLEMENTATION PLAN, A-00-10, A-00-11, AND A-00-13 ARE CLASSIFED "OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE."
Letter Mail Controlled 04/07/2000 2:43:03 PM MC# 2000502 THE FAA IS CURRENTLY CONDUCTING RESEARCH UNDER THE SAFER SKIES AGENDA ON THE ISSUES OUTLINED IN THESE RECOMMENDATIONS. SPECIFICALLY, THE CONTROLLED FLIGHT INTO TERRAIN (CFIT) JOINT SAFETY IMPLEMENTATION TEAM HAS DEVELOPED AN IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR PRECISION-LIKE APPROACHES. THE PURPOSE OF THE PLAN IS TO IDENTIFY THE MEANS BY WHICH ALL FLIGHTCREWS CAN FLY AN APPROPRIATE STABILIZED VERTICAL PATH TO RUNWAY TOUCHDOWN FOR ALL INSTRUMENT APPROACH PROCEDURES, THEREBY REDUCING THE POSSIBILITY OF A CFIT ACCIDENT. THE PLAN WAS APPROVED BY THE COMMERCIAL AVIATION SAFETY TEAM ON 3/16/00. I WILL KEEP THE BOARD INFORMED OF THE FAA'S PROGRESS ON THESE RECOMMENDATIONS.
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