Prepared by Sharyn Aust Smith []
with law firm Hill, Gilstrap, Perkins and Warner


June 1, 1999



“On June 1, 1999, at 2351 Central Daylight Time (CDT), a McDonnell Douglas MD-82, N215AA, operated by American Airlines (AA) . . . overran the end of runway 4R and collided with the approach light stanchion at the Little Rock/Adams Field (LIT), in Little Rock, Arkansas.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“At the time of the accident, AA had 9,661 pilots.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“There were 3,112 total MD-80 pilots including 1,440 captains, 1,372 first officers.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“AA had MD-80 bases in Boston, Massachusetts (BOS), Washington, D.C. (DCA), New York, New York (LGA), Chicago, Illinois (ORD), Dallas, Texas (DFW), Los Angeles, California (LAX), San Francisco, California (SFO), Reno, Nevada (RNO), Las Vegas, Nevada (LAS), and Seattle , Washington (SEA).” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“There were a total of 279 MD-80 airplanes in the AA fleet.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

10:18 a.m. (EDT) “…F/O Origel reported at 1018.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

10:38 a.m. (EDT) “. . . Captain Buschmann reported for the sequence at 1038…” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

Bob Dansby, AA Manager On Duty Crew Scheduling: “…crew duty day begins one hour prior to scheduled departure time and continues until scheduled arrival time at the final destination plus a 15 minute debrief time.”…“A crew was normally scheduled for a maximum of 12 hours and 30 minutes on duty, and, if necessary, could be extended up to a maximum of 14 hours on duty.” [Ex. 2B/File 1C]

“The following on duty limitations shall apply. [See Q&A #109]

Departure Time Schedule Re-Schedule Maximum
0600-1759 12 ½ Hours 13 Hours 14 Hours
1800-2059 11 Hours  12 Hours 13 Hours
2100-0559 10 Hours 11 Hours 12 Hours

Ex. 2D/File 1E]

“In ORD, prior to beginning the flight sequence, the captain gave him a standard American Airlines briefing (what to do in an emergency, who would fly, who would do the checklist, runways to use, etc.) [Ex. 2B/File 1C]

11:43 a.m. (EDT) “Flight 1226 departed ORD…” “Captain Buschmann was the pilot flying (PF) and the flight time accrued for this leg was three hours and fifteen minutes.” [Ex. 2A/ File 1B]

1:58 p.m. (MDT) “…arrived in SLC at 1358 Mountain Daylight Time (MDT).” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

3:47 p.m. (MDT) “The crew departed SLC for DFW on flight 2080 at 1547 MDT…” “F/O Origel was the PF to DFW and the flight time accrued for this leg was three hours and twenty-three minutes enroute.” [Ex. 2A/ File 1B]

8: 10 p.m. (CDT) Flight 2080 arrives at DFW [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

8:28 p.m. (CDT) “Flight 1420, the accident flight, was scheduled to depart DFW at 2028 as flight 1420. The airplane scheduled for use on the flight was delayed due to weather and according to the dispatcher of flight 1420, using the original airplane, would not allow the flightcrew to remain within the contractual crew duty day limit of 14 hours. As a result, the accident airplane, N215AA, was substituted for flight 1420.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“In DFW, the flightcrew received departure paperwork for the flight that included airplane information, weight and balance information, and weather information. The weather information included a SIGMEC that indicated a line of thunderstorms (TRW) along the planned flight path.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“A brief of severe weather watch number 357 was in American Airlines flight 1420 weather document (see section 12.0 Preflight Weather Package).” [Ex. 5A/File 2L]

“He (Origel) called the flight dispatcher who then arranged foe a substitute airplane.” [Ex.2B/File 1C]

“They knew there was weather between DFW and LIT. Their original flight plan route had the flight going direct to Little Rock , Arkansas (LIT), but they received a routing change before they left the ground that had them going southeast of their original route. At DFW, they knew they might not make it in to LIT, and said this had been a part of their briefing concerning alternates but it was not really a discussion item.” [Ex. 2B/File 1C]

9:00 p.m. to

9:24 p.m. (CDT) Special report (indicates a change or something special) in ACARS that Little Rock had thunderstorms, broken clouds, lightning in clouds, and thunderstorms moving east. [Ex. 2E/File 1F]

9:05 p.m. (CDT) “The following information was issued at 0305Z and provided to the Flight Crew before departure at Dallas Ft. Worth as part of the weather-briefing printed out (attachment 49) with the flight plan:

Map features for the south central United States , valid on June 1, 1999 , from 2358Z to 2300Z on June 2, 1999 .” [Ex. 5A/File 2B]

9:53 p.m. (CDT) Little Rock Airport observation at 253Z, winds from 180 degrees at 9 knots, visibility 7 miles in thunderstorm, scattered clouds at 5,000 feet in cumulonimbus clouds, ceiling broken at 7,500 feet, overcast clouds at 12,000 feet, temperature 26 degrees C, dew point 23 degrees C, altimeter 29.84 inches of Hg. Remarks: ASOS, thunderstorm began at 0200Z, ended 0224Z, and began again at 0252Z, rain ended at 0224Z, sea level pressure 1010.3 mb, thunderstorm east moving east, occasional lightning in-cloud, and cloud-to-cloud south through southwest, thunderstorm south through southwest moving northeast, precipitation since last hourly observation 0.04 if an inch, temperature 25.6 degrees C, dew point 23.3 degrees C, barometric tendency pressure rising 0.16 mb over the last 3 hours.” [Ex. 5A/File 2L]

9:55 p.m. (CDT) Enroute Thunderstorm SIGMEC valid until 6/2/99 at 3:00 a.m. shows widely scattered area of thunderstorms increasing until 1:00 a.m. then decreasing. Convective SIGMET 11C valid until 11:55 p.m. (CDT) shows area of severe thunderstorms moving from 300 ° at 20 kts. with possibility of 2” hail and wind gusts to 70 kts. [Ex. 2E/File 1 F]

“Enroute thunderstorm SIGMEC. Valid from 0255Z through 0800Z on June 2, 1999 . Over Texas , Louisiana , Arkansas , and Oklahoma . Coverage widely scattered area of thunderstorms located from 10 miles northeast of Fayetteville , AR , to Little Rock , AR , to Texarkana , AR , to Paris , TX , to Fayetteville , AR , than back to 10 miles northeast of Fayetteville . Thunderstorms moving to the east at 20 knots. Maximum tops at and above 50,000 feet. Outlook, thunderstorms increasing through 0600Z and then decreasing. Issued by American Airlines Weather Services.” [Ex. 5A/File 2L]

9:55 p.m. (CDT) “The NWS had two In-Flight Weather Advisories current during the time surrounding the accident (attachment 47). Both advisories were issued for severe thunderstorms, one in the form of a Convective SIGMET (WST) and the other a Severe Weather Watch (AWW).” [Ex. 5A/File 2L]

“The NWS Aviation Weather Center located in Kansas City , Missouri issued Convective SIGMET 15C at 0355Z which was valid until 0555Z on June 2, 1999 . The area encompassed sections of Arkansas and Oklahoma . The area was enclosed by the points 40 miles east of Razorback VOR, AR (RCZ) to 30 miles southeast of Little Rock (LIT) to 10 miles north northwest of El Dorado, AR (ELD) to 70 miles south of McAlester, OK (MLC) then back to 40 miles east of Razorback (RCZ). The SIGMET was issued for an area of severe thunderstorms moving from 320 degrees at 20 knots, with tops above 45,000 feet. Hail to 2 inches, and wind gusts to 70 knots were possible. A Convective SIGMET implies severe or greater turbulence and microburst/windshear.” [Ex. 5A/File 2L]

10:40 p.m. (CDT) “At 2240, flight 1420 departed DFW two hours and twelve minutes late.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“The flight was handled by controllers at Dallas/Fort Worth terminal radar approach control (TRACON), Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) and Memphis Air Route Traffic Control Center before arriving in the Little Rock area.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

“At 0340Z American Flight 1420 blocked out from Dallas Ft. Worth airport, and after a few minutes received a radio close-out for the weight and balance figures. The Flight reported an off-time of 0353Z.” [Ex. 5A/File 2L]

10:42 p.m. (CDT) Ramp sent ACAR for final weight totals; total weight was 3,475; weight restriction because of weight at landing. [Ex. 2D/File 1E]

10:50:01 p.m. ACARS message: “FLT 1420/01 ETD DFW 2250/01


10:50:02 p.m. ACARS message: “FLT 1420/01 ETD DFW 2250/02



10:54 p.m. (CDT) “… the dispatcher sent an ACARS message to flight crew advising them of enroute weather and weather in the LIT area, and said it may be a factor during arrival at LIT.” [Ex.2A/File 1B] “Right now on radar there is a large slot to Little Rock . Thunderstorms are on the left and right, and Little Rock is in the clear. Sort of like a bowling alley approach. Thunderstorms are moving east-northeastward towards Little Rock and they may be a factor for our arrival. I suggest expediting our arrival in order to beat the thunderstorms to Little Rock if possible. Regards, B. Trott, Flight Dispatcher desk 6. Please acknowledge message. end” [Ex. 2E/File 1F]

10:57 p.m. (CDT) 1420 received planned flight schedule through ACARS and acknowledged same.

“At 0357Z the flight crew requested the Little Rock weather through ACARS. They received the 0253Z Little Rock observation which was already in their preflight briefing paperwork.” [Ex. 5A/File 2L]

10:58 p.m. (CDT) “AAL1420 left DFW TRACON airspace and contacted the Fort Worth ARTCC Quitman sector at 0358." [[Ex. 3A/File 2k}

11:01 p.m. (CDT) “At 0401, the Quitman radar controller broadcast the following advisory:

“attention all aircraft convective sigmet 15c valid until 0600 zulu for arkansas and oklahoma available hiwas, flight watch, or flight service.'” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

“American Airlines flight 1420 received the information contained in the Convective SIGMET 15C from the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) at 0401Z and at 0404Z on its issuance and were advised that Hazardous In-flight Weather Advisory Service (HIWAS) had further information in its broadcast." [Ex. 5A/File 2L]

11:02 p.m. (CDT) “At 0402, AAL 1420 was instructed to contact the Fort Worth ARTCC Texarkana/Sulphur Springs sector.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:03 p.m. (CDT) “AAL1420 contacted the Texarkana sector at 0403.'” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:04 p.m. (CDT) “At 0404, the Texarkana sector controller broadcast the following advisory: ‘attention all aircraft convective sigmet 15 central valid until 0555 zulu for arkansas and oklahoma from four zero miles east of razorback to three zero miles southeast of little rock one zero miles north northwest of eldorado seven zero miles south of mcallister four zero miles east of razorback area of severe thunderstorms moving from 300 at 20 knots tops above flight level four five zero hail to two inches and wind gusts to seven zero knots possible addition hazardous weather information for arkansas and oklahoma available from flight service flight watch or hiwas frequencies.'” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:08 p.m. (CDT) ACARS show fuel ferry for the flight with a savings of $62; added 1800 lbs. of fuel on the flight [Ex. 2E/File 1F]

11:11 p.m. (CDT) “At 0411Z, flight dispatch sent by ACARS a revised fuel burn with the notation of the two destination alternate airports of Nashville, TN (BNA) and Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX. (DFW), with additional fuel added for enroute weather deviations.” [Ex. 5A/File 2L]

11:13 p.m. (CDT) “AAL1420 was instructed to contact the Fort Worth ARTCC Eldorado sector at 0413,…” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:14 p.m. (CDT) 1420 contacted Ft. Worth ARTCC Eldorado sector [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:21:40 p.m. Buschmann: “we're almost down to max landing weight.” [File 3A]

11:22:57 p.m. Buschmann: “we're right on the edge of this.” [File 3A]

11:23 p.m. “Special weather observation for Little Rock at 0423Z, winds from 180 degrees at 09 knots, visibility 7 miles with thunderstorms, a few clouds at 7,000 feet in cumulonimbus clouds, ceiling broken at 10,000 feet, temperature 25 degrees C, dew point temperature 23 degrees C, altimeter 29.86 inches of mercury (Hg). Remarks: ASOS observation, thunderstorms began at 23 minutes past the hour, frequent lightning in-cloud and cloud-to-cloud located from the west through the northwest, thunderstorms west through northwest, moving northeast.” [Ex. 5A/File 2L]

11:23:53 p.m. Origel: “this is the ground over here on the right.” [File 3A]

11:23:55 p.m. Buschmann: “yeah I see an occasional ground.” [File 3A]

11:25:43 p.m. Buschmann: “we got to get over there quick.” [File 3A]

11:25:48 p.m. Origel: “I don't like that. . . that's lightning.” [File 3A]

“The accident F/O said he ‘felt a sense of urgency to land at LIT because the weather was moving in' and also said ‘there was no discussion of delaying or diverting the landing.'” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

11:25:56 p.m. Buschmann: “sure is.” [File 3A]

11:26 p.m. “The ATIS broadcast current from 0426 to 0531 UTC was as follows:


‘good evening little rock adams field information romeo zero four two two zulu special observation wind one niner zero at one four visibility seven thunderstorm few clouds at seven thousand cumulonimbus ceiling one zero thousand broken temperature two five dew point two three altimeter two niner eight eight frequent lightning in cloud cloud to cloud west through northwest thunderstorm west through northwest moving northeast ils runway two two left approach in use notices to airmen runway two two right four left ils out of service attention all aircraft hazardous weather information for the little rock area available on hiwas flight watch or flight service departing aircraft contact tower one one eight point seven for clearance and taxi advise on initial contact you have romeo'” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:26:48 p.m. Buschmann: “this is the bowling alley right here.” [File 3A]

11:26:50 p.m. Origel: “yeah, I know.” [File 3A]

11:27 p.m. (CDT) “AAL1420 checked in at 0429 and was again issued the LIT 29.86” altimeter setting.” [Ex.3A/File 2K]

11:27:23 p.m. Buschmann acknowledges “ten set and armed.” [File 3A]

11:27:27 p.m. Cockpit on PA: “we're now just uh, eighty miles from the airport and we have started our descent uh toward it. quite a light show off the left hand side of the aircraft. We'll be passing that on our way toward Little Rock . . . and we should be landing here in about uh probably about twenty minutes. I'm gonna have to slightly over-fly the airport, in or order to turn back around to land. . .” [File 3A]

11:28:02 p.m. Origel: “descent checks are complete.” [File 3A]

11:28 p.m. (CDT) “The Eldorado controller transferred AAL1420 to Memphis ARTCC's Jackson low altitude sector…” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:28:26 p.m. Buschmann: “we gotta get there quick.” [File 3A]

11:28:27 p.m. Origel: “yep.” [File 3A]

11:29:12 p.m. Cockpit to flight attendant: “. . . I think it's gonna get a little bumpy here again and if you don't mind…” [File 3A]

11:29:15 -

11:29:22 p.m. Cockpit tells flight attendants to finish the service real quick [File 3A]

11:29:37 p.m. ATC issued the LIT 29.86” altimeter setting. [File 3A]

11:29:44 p.m. Origel: “…that alley's getting big … closing to the west.” [File 3A]

11:29:48 p.m. Buschmann: “yeah it is.” [File 3A]

11:29:52 p.m. Origel: “I say we get down as soon as we can.” [File 3A]

11:29:56 p.m. Buschmann: “two nine eight six?” [File 3A]

11:29:57 p.m. Origel: nine eight six. Altimeters are set and cross checked.” [File 3A]

11:30:06 p.m. Origel: “aw #, no right side**” [File 3A]

11:30:49 p.m. Origel: “okay, hydraulic pumps are on, high and on.” [File 3A]

11:30:52 p.m. Buschmann: “okay” [File 3A]

11:30:52 p.m. Origel: “altimeters? two night eight six.” [File 3A]

11:30:56 p.m. Buschmann: “reset, two nine eight six.” [File 3A]

11:30:57 p.m. Origel: “flight instruments and bugs?” [File 3A]

11:30:59 p.m. Buschmann: “…I got a hundred and thirty.” [File 3A]

11:31:03 p.m. Origel: “yeah” [File 3A]

11:31:05 p.m. Buschmann: “with the flaps forty, a hundred and thirty thousand pounds. four hundred and sixty feet, two hundred feet ***…” [File 3A]

11:31:13 p.m. Origel: “set and cross checked.” [File 3A]

11:31:15 p.m. Origel: “tail de-ice? uh, not required?” [File 3A]

11:31:15 p.m. Buschmann: “not required” [File 3A]

11:31:19 p.m. Origel: “manual brakes?” [File 3A]

11:31:21 p.m. Buschmann: “manual's fine” [File 3A]

11:31:29 p.m. Buschmann: “I have to go a little to the right here.” [File 3A]

11:31:30 p.m. Origel: “yeah” [File 3A]

11:31:31 p.m. ??? “don't turn left” [File 3A]

11:31:35 p.m. Origel: “actually there's the city right there.” [File 3A]

11:31:36 p.m. Buschmann: “yeah” [File 3A]

11:31:39 p.m. Origel: “breaking out of the crud. good…doing good” [File 3A]

11:31:52 p.m. Origel: “whoa. looks like it's movin' this way though” [File 3A]

11:31:54 p.m. Buschmann: “yeah *” [File 3A]

11:32:05 p.m. Buschmann: “*just some lightning straight ahead.” [File 3A]

11:32:11 p.m. Origel: “ ***think we're gonna be okay. right there.” [File 3A]

11:32:28 p.m. Buschmann: “down the bowling alley.” [File 3A]

11:32:44 p.m. Origel: “as my friends would say, California cool.” [File 3A]

11:32:48 p.m. Buschmann: “cool” [File 3A]

11:33:46 p.m. Buschmann: “that's forty miles” [File 3A]

11:33:48 P.M. Origel: “yeah” [File 3A]

11:33:47 p.m. “AAL1420 was told to contact LIT ATCT by the Jackson sector…” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:34:03 p.m. “AAL1420 contacted LIT ATCT at 0434:06, reporting that the flight was descending through 11,300 feet for 10,000 feet.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:34:09 p.m. The controller acknowledged the initial transmission, advised AA 1420 that there was a thunderstorm northwest of the airport and reported that the wind is 280 ° at 28 kts. with gusts to 44 kts.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:34:21 p.m. 1420: “yeah we can see the uh, lightning and uh, you wanta repeat those winds again” [File 3A]


11:34:26 p.m. ATC repeated winds. [File 3A]

11:34:32 p.m. 1420 acknowledges. [File 3A]

11:34:34 p.m. Origel: “gusts to forty four*.” [File 3A]

11:34:36 p.m. Buschmann: “right near the limit.” [File 3A]

11:34:37 p.m. Origel: “yeah, it's uh, forty degrees off. what our cross(wind)*.” [File 3A]

11:34:44 p.m. “The controller again provided the winds, and told AAL1420 to expect an ILS approach to runway 22L.” [Ex. 3a/File 2K]

11:23:44 p.m. Buschmann: “thirty” [File 3A]

11:34:45 p.m. 1420 acknowledged ATC [File 3A]

11:34:48 p.m. Origel: “no that's that's * you're not out of the limits because of the angle*, but it's pretty close.” [File 3A]

11:34:54 p.m. Buschmann: “yeah” [File 3A]

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