Monday, February 23, 2009

Aircraft separation incident blamed on San Juan CERAP controllers

NTSB logoThe U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a very brief probable cause report on an aircraft separation incident that occurred over the Atlantic Ocean, north of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in August of 2008. The NTSB's investigation of the incident concluded that "the San Juan CERAP controllers failure to ensure the two aircraft were properly separated using non-radar separation standards."

The NTSB report recounts the incident, as follows:
On August 28, 2008, at approximately 1837 Atlantic standard time, Russian Registered Transaero flight 554, a Boeing 744, and Delta Airlines flight 845, a Boeing 738, came within zero feet vertical and 1 minute lateral separation (15 minutes is required in non-radar environment) at FL330 179N San Juan, PR. Transaero 554 descended 200-300 feet due to a traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) resolution alert. [NTSB ID: OPS08IA014B]
As reported soon after the incident here on Aircrew Buzz, the Transaero Boeing 747-400, operating as Flight TSO 554, was en route from Moscow Domodedovo International Airport to Punta Cana International Airport in the Dominican Republic. The Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-800, operating as Flight DAL 485, was en route from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New york to Piarco International Airport in Trinidad.

The San Juan CERAP (Combined En Route Radar Approach Control) is the only such facility in the Caribbean.