Friday, July 13, 2007

NTSB classifies FLL runway incursion as 'pilot deviation'

NTSBYesterday I posted a brief item here about a runway incursion incident at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) earlier this week. This morning the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a preliminary synopsis of the incident. I must say, it's a chilling report:
On July 11, 2007, at 1437 Eastern daylight time a runway incursion occurred at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, (FLL), Fort Lauderdale, Florida between United (UAL) flight 1544, an A-320 and Delta Airlines (DAL) flight 1489, a Boeing 757. The incident occurred in day visual flight rules conditions, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 4,800 feet.

The FLL ground controller (GC) instructed UAL1544 to taxi to runway 9L via taxiways T7, D, and B. As the flight was taxiing on taxiway D near runway 9L, the tower local controller (LC) noticed the airplane was going too fast to hold short of the runway. LC told the GC to tell UAL to stop. The GC said "UAL 1544 stop, stop, stop". The crew stopped on runway 9L, 30 feet from the centerline.

DAL1489 was inbound for landing on runway 9L when LC determined that UAL1544 was not going to hold short of the runway. LC instructed DAL1489 to go around. When the crew received the instruction, the main landing gear was on the ground. According to the crew statement, they noted the urgency in the controller's voice so they knew they had to get the aircraft airborne. FAA reported DAL1489 flew over UAL1544 by less than 100 feet.

According to the FAA, the UAL crew stated they missed the turn onto taxiway B. [NTSB ID: OPS07IA006A]
A press release I received by email from the NTSB also states:
Fort Lauderdale International Airport is not equipped with either a ground safety system such as an Airport Movement Area Safety System or Airport Surveillance
Detection Equipment.

The United crew stated that they missed the turn onto taxiway B. The FAA has classified this incident as a pilot deviation.