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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-80-132
Details
Synopsis: ON JUNE 12, 1980, AN AIR WISCONSIN, INC., SWEARINGEN SA-226 METRO CRASHED NEAR VALLEY, NEBRASKA, KILLING 13 PERSONS AND SERIOUSLY INJURING 2 OTHERS. THE AIRCRAFT ENCOUNTERED AN AREA OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WHILE AT AN ALTITUDE OF LESS THAN 6,000 FT AND EXPERIENCED A SIMULTANEOUS LOSS OF POWER TO BOTH ENGINES BECAUSE OF MASSIVE WATER INGESTION. DURING ITS INVESTIGATION OF THE ACCIDENT, THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD FOUND NUMEROUS DEFICIENCIES IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL PROCEDURES WHICH AFFECTED THE ACQUISITION OF WEATHER DATA AND THE DISSEMINATION OF THAT INFORMATION TO SECTOR AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS AND PILOTS. THE SAFETY BOARD ALSO DISCOVERED THAT THE CAPABILITIES OF AIRBORNE WEATHER RADAR ON THE AIRCRAFT TO DETECT SEVERE WEATHER ECHOES WERE LIMITED SIGNIFICANTLY BY RAIN-INDUCED TWO-WAY ATTENUATION, BUT THAT THE PILOTS WERE PROBABLY NOT AWARE OF THE REDUCED CAPABILITY OF THE RADAR.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: UNDERTAKE AN EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAM TO ANALYZE AND EVALUATE THE TECHNICAL AND OPERATIONAL FEASIBILITY OF REQUIRING THAT AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL PROVIDE SEPARATION BETWEEN AIRCRAFT AND SEVERE METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS WHEN THE NATURE AND LOCATION OF THE METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS CAN BE DETERMINED.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: Valley, NE, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA80AA019
Accident Reports: Air Wisconsin, Inc., Swearingen A-226 Metro, N650S
Report #: AAR-80-15
Accident Date: 6/12/1980
Issue Date: 1/5/1981
Date Closed: 2/8/1984
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Air Traffic Control, Weather

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 2/8/1984
Response: In letters dated 4/7/81, and 7/8/82, the faa stated its opinion that, . . . The final decision making authority (concerning weather avoid-ance) should rest with the pilot in command. In issuing recommendation a-8 0-132, the safety board did not disagree with this viewpoint. In fact, on page 2 of the 1-5-81, letter of recommendation a-80-132, the safety board did not disagree with this viewpoint. In fact, on page 2 of the 1-5-81, letter of recommendation which transmitted a-80-132 to the faa, the following appears; the safety board agrees that the avoidance of hazardousweather conditions is a pilot responsibility. The letter of recommendation goes on to say, however, the future atc system should consider the feasibility of actively separating aircraft from know meteorological condi- tions. . . We urge the faa to undertake an experimental program to analyze and evaluate the technical and operational feasibility of the atc system providing separation between aircraft from severe meteorological conditions. As the FAA is still not convinced that such an analysis and evaluation would be useful, the safety board regretfully has placed a- 80-132 in a closed--unacceptable action status.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/8/1982
Response: FAA LETTER: AS NOTED IN OUR PREVIOUS RESPONSE TO THIS RECOMMENDATION, WE STATED THAT THE FINAL DECISION MAKING AUTHORITY (CONCERNING WEATHER AVOIDANCE) SHOULD REST WITH THE PILOT IN COMMAND.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 5/24/1982
Response: In the subject accident, the pilot was not informed of the hazardous weather and the probable cause of the accident was . . . The flightcrew's continued flight into an area of severe thunderstorms . . . There are times when the air traffic controller is better informed to adverse weather conditions and, therefore, better qualified to provide separation between aircraft and severe meteorological conditions. The inte of the recommendations is not to take always remain in the cockpit, but to enable to controller to use his latest weather information to provide a safer air traffic service. We, therefore, request the faa to reconsider this recommendation which we are maintaining in an open--unacceptable action status.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/7/1981
Response: FAA LTR: ALL THE INFORMATION WE HAVE DERIVED FROM EXPERIENCE, USER INPUT, AND METEOROLOGICAL STATE-OF-THE-ART, INDICATES CONCLUSIVELY THAT THE FINAL DECISION-MAKING AUTHORITY (CONCERNING WEATHER AVOIDANCE) SHOULD REST WITH THE PILOT-IN-COMMAND. THE FAA WILL CONTINUE ITS EFFORT TO UPGRADE THE QUALITY AND TIMELINESS OF WEATHER INFORMATION THAT WE PROVIDE THE PILOTS. HOWEVER OUR DEDICATED INVOLVEMENT IN WEATHER-RELATED ACTIVITIES HAS PROVIDED NO EVIDENCE INDICATING THAT TRANSFER OF THE DECISIONMAKING AUTHORITY, FROM PILOT TO CONTROLLER, IS WARRANTED OR WOULD, IN ANY WAY, INCREASE SAFETY.