Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-76-031
Details
Synopsis: ON JUNE 24, 1975, EASTERN AIR LINES FLIGHT 66, A BOEING 727, CRASHED DURING A PRECISION INSTRUMENT APPROACH TO THE JOHN F. KENNEDY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, JAMAICA, NEW YORK. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN PERSONS DIED FROM THE INJURIES THAT THEY RECEIVED. THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD'S INVESTIGATION OF THE ACCIDENT DISCLOSED THAT THE AIRCRAFT DEVELOPED A HIGH DESCENT RATE AS IT PASSED THROUGH OR BELOW THE BASE OF A MATURE THUNDERSTORM. THE STORM WAS ASTRIDE THE APPROACH COURSE AND APPROXIMATELY 1 MILE FROM THE END OF THE RUNWAY. THE PILOTS OF OTHER FLIGHTS WHICH PRECEDED FLIGHT66 ON THE APPROACH REPORTED THAT THEY TOO HAD ENCOUNTERED PROBLEMS IN CONTROLLING THEIR AIRCRAFT TO MAINTAIN A SAFE APPROACH PROFILE. THESE AIRCRAFT AVOIDED AN ACCIDENT POSSIBLY BECAUSE THE PREVAILING CONDITIONS WERE LESS SEVERE OR BECAUSE THE PILOTS RECOGNIZED AND RESPONDED TO THE SITUATION FASTER THAN THE PILOTS OF FLIGHT 66.
Recommendation: CONDUCT A RESEARCH PROGRAM TO DEFINE AND CLASSIFY THE LEVEL OF FLIGHT HAZARD OF THUNDERSTORMS USING SPECIFIC CRITERIA FOR THE SEVERITY OF A THUNDERSTORM AND THE MAGNITUDE OF CHANGE OF THE WIND SPEED COMPONENTS MEASURED AS A FUNCTION OF DISTANCE ALONG AN AIRPLANE'S DEPARTURE OR APPROACH FLIGHT TRACK AND ESTABLISH OPERATIONAL LIMITATIONS BASED UPON THESE CRITERIA.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: Jamaica, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA75AZ015
Accident Reports: Eastern Airlines, Inc., Boeing 727-225
Report #: AAR-76-08
Accident Date: 6/24/1975
Issue Date: 3/9/1976
Date Closed: 8/21/1981
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Weather, Thunderstorms/Rain/Snow

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 8/21/1981
Response: The faa's research and development efforts conducted in conjunction with the national aeronautics and space administration and the department of commerce are laudable. With the information to be derived fromthe next generation radar, we trust that airborne equipment will be developed to measure wind components and help pilots avoid wind shear areas. This recommendation is classified in a closed--acceptable action status.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/1/1981
Response: FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION LTR: RESEARCH PROGRAMS INITIATED BY THE FAA IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE NATIONAL SEVERE STORM LABORATORY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND NASA TO DETERMINE THE MAGNITUDE OF WINDSPEED COMPONENT CHANGES ASSOCIATED WITH THUNDERSTORMS ARE CONTINUING. HIGHLY INSTRUMENTED AIRCRAFT ARE BEING USED TO PENETRATE AREAS OF SEVERE WEATHER CONDITIONS, THE SEVERITY OF WHICH IS MEASURED SIMULTANEOUSLY BY GROUND-BASED RADAR EQUIPMENT CAPABLE OF ACCURATELY TRACKING THE AIRCRAFT AND OF MEASURING THE MAGNITUDE OF THE WINDSPEED COMPONENTS. NASA AND THE FAA ARE AT THE SAME TIME COLLABORATING IN AN EVALUATION OF THE USEFULNESS OF AIRBORNE WEATHER RADAR TO IDENTIFY AREAS OF HAZARDOUS WIND SHEAR CONDITIONS USING MODIFICATIONS OF EXISTING SYSTEMS. THE FAA, NASA, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE ARE ALSO CONTINUING COLLECTION AND ANALYSES OF SEVERE WEATHER WINDSPEED COMPONENT DATA COLLECTED FROM INSTRUMENTED TOWERS TO BETTER CHARACTERIZE WIND CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THUNDERSTORMS. WITH THE INFORMATION DERIVED FROM THESE PROGRAMS AND WITH THE USE OF THE NEXT GENERATION RADAR (NEXRAD) IN TERMINAL AREAS SUPPORTED BY DATA LINK CAPABILITIES WHICH ARE ALSO UNDER DEVELOPMENT, THE FAA EXPECTS TO BE ABLE TO IMPROVE THE INFORMATION ON WIND SHEAR CONDITIONS AVAILABLE TO THE PILOT.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 4/17/1981
Response: We were advised on july 28, 1980, to expect an answer in the near future. We are anxious to evaluate the progress of these recommendations and would very much appreciate an updated status report.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/28/1980
Response: FAA LTR: WE ARE REVIEWING THE STATUS OF ACTIONS TAKEN AND WILL ADVISE THE BOARD IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 7/21/1980
Response: At the last ntsb/faa quarterly meeting held on march 12, 1980, the faa staff were advised that a number of these recommendations were in an open status awaiting a further response from the faa. In order to evaluate the progress of the recommendations and update the public docket, we would appreciate an updated status report.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/7/1976
Response: FAA LTR: RESEARCH INITIATED. IF RESEARCH SHOWS MEANINGFUL OPERATIONAL LIMITATIONS CAN BE ESTABLISHED BASED UPON THESE CRITERIA, RULEMAKING WILL BE UNDERTAKEN.