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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-82-009
Details
Synopsis: AS A RESULT OF ITS CONTINUING INVESTIGATION OF THE CRASH OF AIR FLORIDA FLIGHT 90, A BOEING 737-222 (N62AF) ON JANUARY 13, 1982, THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD BELIEVES THAT IMMEDIATE CORRECTIVE ACTION IS NEEDED IN THE AREA OF COLD-WEATHER OPERATIONS PROCEDURES. THE AIRCRAFT HAD DEPARTED FROM RUNWAY 36 AT WASHINGTON NATIONAL AIRPORT IN MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOWFALL AND LOW VISIBILITY. THE AIRCRAFT FAILED TO ACHIEVE A SUFFICIENT RATE OF CLIMB, STRUCK THE 14TH STREET BRIDGE ABOUT 4,500 FEET FROM THE DEPARTURE END OF THE RUNWAY, AND CRASHED INTO OF THE POTOMAC RIVER. SEVENTY-FOUR OF THE 79 PERSONS ABOARD THE AIRCRAFT WERE KILLED EITHER ON IMPACT OR BY DROWNING, AND 4 PERSONS IN AUTOMOBILES ON THE BRIDGE WERE KILLED WHEN THE VEHICLES WERE STRUCK BY THE DESCENDING AIRCRAFT.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: IMMEDIATELY REQUIRE FLIGHTCREWS TO VISUALLY INSPECT WING SURFACES BEFORE TAKEOFF IF SNOW OR FREEZING PRECIPITATION IS IN PROGRESS AND THE TIME ELAPSED SINCE EITHER DEICING OR THE LAST CONFIRMATION THAT SURFACES WERE CLEAR EXCEEDS 20 MINUTES TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH 14 CFR 121.629(B) WHICH PROHIBITS TAKEOFF IF FROST, SNOW OR ICE IS ADHERING TO THE WINGS OR CONTROL SURFACES. (URGENT)
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Reconsidered
Mode: Aviation
Location: Washington, DC, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA82AA011
Accident Reports: Air Florida, Inc., Boeing 737-222, N62AF, Collision with 14th Street Bridge
Report #: AAR-82-08
Accident Date: 1/13/1982
Issue Date: 1/28/1982
Date Closed: 4/19/1982
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Reconsidered)
Keyword(s): Icing,Weather

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 4/19/1982
Response: We have carefully reviewed the FAA comments concerning A- 82-9. The FAA has provided a convincing rationale for not using 20 minutes following deicing as a limiting factor after which flightcrews would be required to visually inspect wing surfaces to ensure compliance with 14 CFR 121.629(b). In addition, testimony concerning this issue at the public hearing on this accident confirmed that, because of the many variables affecting airframe icing, time intervals following deicing cannot be used as a substitute for a visual inspection to determine that the aircraft surfaces are clear. It was not our intention that the 20 minute limit would replace the requirement to visually inspect the aircraft just prior to takeoff, but more to encourage flightcrews to perform an interim inspection when the time since deicing has reached 20 minutes so that they may be alerted to the need for initiating further deicing actions. We continue to believe that periodic inspections would be a good practice. Nevertheless, we agree that the introduction of a 20 minute time factor could be misinterpreted to mean that no inspection is required if the time between deicing and takeoff is less than 20 minutes. Therefore, based on a review of the comments made by the FAA, and the public hearing testimony, the Safety Board has reconsidered its position on this recommendation. We agree that the only safe procedure is the "clear aircraft" concept as required by present regulations. A-82-9 has been classified as "Closed--Reconsidered."

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 2/22/1982
Response: FAA LTR: REFERENCE TO A TIME SUCH AS 20 MINUTES SINCE DEICING OR THE LAST CONFIRMATION THAT THE AIRCRAFT SURFACES WERE CLEAR IS NOT CONSIDERED IN THE BEST INTEREST OF FLIGHT SAFETY. FLIGHTCREWS MUST USE THE "CLEAR AIRCRAFT" CONCEPT SPECIFIED BY CURRENT RULES WITHOUT REGARD TO SPECIFIC TIME INTERVALS.