Prepared by Sharyn Aust Smith [sasmith@hillgilstrap.com]
with law firm Hill, Gilstrap, Perkins and Warner

TIMELINE FOR FLIGHT 1420  continued page 3

June 1, 1999

 

“The 0445Z image (composite reflectivity images) depicts a northeast to southwest oriented band of weather with several large areas with reflectivities greater than 54 dBZ, or Level 6 extreme activity. The area encompasses the Little Rock Airport already by this time.. . . Reflectivities over the airport range from 50 to 64 dBZ, or NWS VIP levels 5 to 6.” [Ex. 5A/File 2L]

11:45:07 p.m. Origel: “#, we had it.” [File 3A]

11:45:09 p.m. Buschmann: “yeah, I just, I never saw the runway.” [File 3A]

11:45:11 p.m. Origel: “no no, it's okay. I **” [File 3A]

11:45:12 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:45:13 p.m. “Mechanical voice: ‘“stabilizer motion'” [File 3A]

11:45:15 p.m. Buschmann: “I hate droning around visual at night in weather without … having some clue where I am.” [File 3A]

11:45:23 p.m. Origel: “yeah but, the longer we go out here the…” [File 3A]

11:45:24 p.m. Buschmann: “yeah, I know.” [File 3A]

11:45:25 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:45:26 p.m. “Mechanical voice: ‘stabilizer motion'” [File 3A]

11:45:29 p.m. Origel: “see how we're going right into this crap.” [File 3A]

11:45:31 p.m. Buschmann: “right” [File 3A]

11:45:46 p.m. 1420 to ATC: “… I know you're doing your best, sir. we're getting pretty close to this storm. We'll keep this in tight if we have to.” [File 3A]

11:45:52 p.m. ATC told 1420 to turn right heading 270 [File 3A]

11:45:57 p.m. 1420 acknowledges. [File 3A]

11:45:59 p.m. ATC: “when you join the final you're going to be right at just a little bit outside the marker if that's going to be okay for ya.” [File 3A]

11:46:05 p.m. 1420 said it was great. [File 3A]

11:46:11 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:46:11 p.m. Origel: “see we're right on the base of these clouds, so..” [File 3A]

11:46:13 p.m. Buschmann: “yeah” [File 3A]

11:46:14 p.m. Origel: “…it's not worth it.” [File 3A]

11:46:15 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:46:20 p.m. Origel: “270, 2,300?” [File 3A]

11:46:23 p.m. Buschmann: “yes sir. *where I am.” [File 3A]

11:46:25 p.m. ATC advised to turn right heading 300. [File 3A]

11:46:29 p.m. 1420 acknowledges. [File 3A]

11:46:39 p.m. “At 0446:52, the controller advised AAL1420 that there was heavy rain at the airport, the ATIS was no longer correct, the visibility was less than a mile, and that the runway 4R runway visual range (RVR) was 3000 feet.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

ATC advised they are 3 miles from the outer marker, turn right heading 20, maintain 2,300 until established on localizer, cleared ILS runway 4R approach. [File 3A]

11:46:47 p.m. 1420 acknowledges. [File 3A]

11:46:52 p.m. Buschmann: “aw, we're goin' right into this.” [File 3A]

11:46:52 p.m. “At 0446:52, the controller advised AAL1420 that there was heavy rain at the airport, the ATIS was no longer correct, the visibility was less than a mile, and that the runway 4R runway visual range (RVR) was 3000 feet.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:46:53 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” {File 3A]

11:47: 04 p.m. 1420 acknowledges. [File 3A]

11:47:07 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:47:08 p.m. “AT 0447:08, the controller again cleared AAL1420 to land, and reported that the wind was 350 degrees at 30 knots, gusting to 45 knots.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:47:10 p.m. Buschmann: “can we land?” [File 3A]

11:47:16 p.m. 1420 read back the wind report. [File 3A]

11:47:19 p.m. Origel: “** zero forecast right down the runway.” [File 3A]

11:47:22 p.m. Buschmann: “3,000 RVR. we can't land on that.” [File 3A]

11:47:24 p.m. Origel: “3,000, if you look at uh…” [File 3A]

11:47:26 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:47:27 p.m. Buschmann: “what do we need?” [File 3A]

11:47:28 p.m. Origel: “no, it's 2,400 RVR” [File 3A]

11:47:29 p.m. Buschmann: “okay, fine.” [File 3A]

11:47:30 p.m. Origel: “yeah, we're doing fine.” [File 3A]

11:47:31 p.m. Buschmann: “all right” [File 3A]

11:47:34 p.m. Origel: “uh, fifteen” [File 3A]

11:47:36 p.m. “[sound of clicks similar to flap handle movement]” [File 3A]

11:47:40 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:47:44 p.m. Buschmann: “llllanding gear down” [File 3A]

11:47:46 p.m. “[sound similar to landing gear being operated]” [File 3A]

11:47:47 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:47:49 p.m. Buschmann: “and lights ** please” [File 3A]

11:47:51 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:47:52 p.m. Mechanical voice: “stabilizer motion” [File 3A]

11:47:53 p.m. “…the controller reported a wind shear alert with center field wind 350 degrees at 32 knots gusting to 45 knots, the north boundary wind 310 degrees at 29 knots, and the northeast boundary wind 320 degrees at 32 knots.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

“This alert was not acknowledged by AAL1420.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:48:02 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:48:03 p.m. Mechanical voice: “stabilizer motion” [File 3A]

11:48:04 p.m. Origel: “flaps 28?” [File 3A]

11:48:11 p.m. Buschmann: “add 20” [File 3A]

11:48:13 p.m. Origel: “right” [File 3A]

11:48:13 p.m. Buschmann: “add twenty knots” [File 3A]

11:48:15 p.m. Origel: “okay” [File 3A]

11:48:13 p.m. “At 0448:12, the controller advised AAL1420 that the RVR had decreased to 1,600 feet.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

“At about 2348:12, the controller reported the runway 4R RVR as 1,600 feet. According to the AA Jeppesen approach plate. . .” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“. . . an RVR of 2,400 feet was the lowest authorized for runway 4R at LIT.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“The flight was operated under Category I minimums and Category I minimums for runway 4R at LIT required an RVR of 2,400 feet and a DH of 200 feet.” [Ex. 2A/1B]

11:48:18 p.m. Origel: “aw #” [File 3A]

11:48:19 p.m. Buschmann: “well we're established on the final” [File 3A]

11:48:21 p.m. Origel: “we're established we're inbound, right” [File 3A]

11:48:25 p.m. Crew reported “we're established inbound” [File 3A]

11:48:28 p.m. “… the controller repeated the landing clearance, and advised AAL1420 that the wind was 340 degrees at 31 knots, north boundary wind was 300 degrees at 26 knots, northeast boundary wind 320 degrees at 25 knots, and that the RVR was 1,600 feet. AAL1420 acknowledged.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:48:37 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:48:42 p.m. 1420 acknowledged. [File 3A]

11:48:44 p.m. Origel: “that's a good point” [File 3A]

11:48:48 p.m. Origel: “keep the speed” [File 3A]

11:48:51 p.m. Origel: “1,000 feet” [File 3A]

11:48:55 p.m. Buschmann: “I don't see anything. lookin' for four sixty” [File 3A]

11:48:59 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:49:01 p.m. Origel: “it's there.” [File 3A]

11:49:03 p.m. Origel: “want 40 flaps?” [File 3A]

“At 1000 feet AFL on the approach, he noticed the flaps were still set at 28 degrees and he asked the captain if he wanted 40 flaps.” [Ex. 2B/File 1C]

11:49:05 p.m. Buschmann: “oh yeah, thought I called it.” [File 3A]

“The captain said he thought they were at 40 degrees." [Ex. 2B/File 1C]

“The captain had briefed 40 degrees flaps for landing due to the short runway and field conditions.” [Ex. 2B/File 1C]

11:49:06 p.m. Origel: “40 now, 1,000', 20 40 40 land.” [File 3A]

“Mr. Origel said at about 900 feet, he put the flaps to 40 degrees.” [Ex. 2B/File 1C]

“About 1000 AGL is normally when the flaps are usually put to the final flap setting.” [Ex. 2B/File 1C]

11:49:11 p.m. ATC reported wind as 330 ° at 28 kts.

11:49:13 p.m. Buschmann: “this is, this is a can of worms” [File 3A]

11:49:18 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:49:23 p.m. “[sound similar to stabilizer-in-motion horn]” [File 3A]

11:49:25 p.m. Buschmann: “I'm gonna stay above it a little” [File 3A]

11:49:25 p.m. Origel: “there's the runway off to your right, got it?” [File 3A]

11:49:27 p.m. Buschmann: “no” [File 3A]

11:49:28 p.m. Origel: “I got the right runway in sight.” [File 3A]

11:49:31 p.m. Origel: “you're right on course. stay where you're at.” [File 3A]

Origel: “He felt it was a stabilized approach until 400 feet when they drifted to the right.” [Ex. 2B/File 1C]

Origel: “He estimated they were displaced to the right about a runway width and said he was looking down the right hand edge lights of the runway.” [Ex. 2B/File 1C]

“. . . approach was stabilized until about 400 feet AFL when they drifted to the right of course and he estimated that they were displaced ‘about a runway width' to the right.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“The AA DC-9 Operating Manual, Volume 1, TECHNIQUES section, page 19 stated in part:
The stabilized approach concept requires that before descending below the specified minimum stabilized approach altitude, the airplane should be --

. in the final landing configuration (gear down and final flaps),

. on Approach Speed,

. on the proper flight path and at the proper sink rate,

. and at stabilized thrust.  

These conditions should be maintained throughout the rest of the approach. The minimum recommended stabilized approach altitudes are:  

. VFR – 500 feet AFL

. IFR – 1,000 feet AFL” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“The AA DC-9 Operating Manual, Volume 1, NORMALS section, page 89, stated in part:

On final, a callout will be made anytime any crewmember observes LOC displacement greater than 1/3 dot and/or a GS displacement greater than 1/2 dot [indications on the navigation instruments]. The other pilot will acknowledge this deviation.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“The AA DC-9 Operating Manual, Volume 1, TECHNIQUES section, page 19 stated the minimum recommended stabilized approach altitude for IFR conditions was 1,000 feet AFL and said ‘in all cases, select landing flaps by 1,000 AFL.' The AA DC-9 Operating Manual, Volume 1, NORMALS section, page 73 stated in part: ‘make final flap selection prior to 1,000 feet AFL.'” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“The AA DC-9 Operating Manual, Volume 1, NORMALS page 102 stated in part:
Requirements to Continue Approach Below DA/DH (FAR 121.651)  

. Airplane must be continuously in a position from which a descent to a landing on the intended runway can be made at a normal rate of descent using normal maneuvers and where that descent rate will allow touchdown to occur within the touchdown zone of the runway of intended landing.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“The AA Flight Manual, Part 1, section 10, page 21 dated April 15, 1998, MISSED APPROACH section stated in part: Missed Approach Procedure

A. When a landing cannot be accomplished and, upon reaching the MAP defined on the approach chart, the pilot must

comply with the missed approach procedure or with an

alternate missed approach procedure specified by ATC.'” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

“The AA Flight Manual Part 1, Section 10, page 13 stated in part:
Weather Deterioration After Approach has Started (FAR 121.651).  

A. After the aircraft is established on the final approach segment, if the weather is reported to be below published minima, the approach may be continued to the appropriate DH or MDA, and landing may be accomplished in accordance with the conditions for the type approach being conducted.  

The final approach segment for an ILS approach begins on the glide slope at the glide slope intercept altitude as shown in the profile [on the approach chart].” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

Captain Bob Lines: “He explained an AA IFR stabilized approach was that at 1000 feet altitude, you should have final flaps set and the aircraft on approach speed. Deviations of ½ dot above or ½ dot below glideslope and any deviation of 1/3 dot off localizer were to be called out by PNF.” [Ex. 2B/File 1C]

11:49:32 p.m. Buschmann: “I got it. I got it.” [File 3A]

11:49:33 p.m. “…the controller reported the wind as 330 degrees at 25 knots.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:49:38.6 p.m. ??? “wipersss” [File 3A]

11:49:42.3 p.m. “[sound similar to windshield wiper motion]” [File 3A]

11:49:47.3 p.m. Origel: “500 feet” [File 3A]

11:49:543.6 p.m. Buschmann: “plus 20” [File 3A]

11:49:54 p.m. “At 0449:54, he (ATC) reported the wind as 320 degrees at 23 knots.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:49:57 p.m. ???? “aw #, we're off course” [File 3A]

11:50 p.m. “The on-time was transmitted by ACARS upon the main gears touching down at Little Rock at 0450Z.” [Ex. 5A/File 2L]

11:50:01.4 p.m. Origel: “we're way off.” [File 3A]

11:50:02.5 p.m. Buschmann: “I can't see it.” [File 3A]

“The F/O stated that ‘at 400 feet because of the conditions, the wind, the weather, and [the fact the] runway was only 7,000 feet. We were going right of course and I thought it's getting more and more difficult to handle. So I thought it would be safer to go around.' The F/O said that he thought he said ‘go-around' at that time.” [Ex. 2A/File 1B]

11:50:03 p.m. “According to FAA radar data supplied to the Safety Board, AAL1420 crossed the runway 4R threshold at approximately 0540:03.” [Ex. 3A/File 2K]

11:50:05.4 p.m. Origel: “got it?” [File 3A]

11:50:06.1 p.m. Buschmann: “yeah I got it.” [File 3A]

11:50:98.9 p.m. Origel: “100 feet” [File 3A]

11:50:10.4 p.m. ???? “above” [File 3A]

11:50:12.1 p.m. Origel: “hundred” [File 3A]

11:50:13.75 p.m. Mechanical voice: “sink rate” [File 3A]

11:50:14.66 p.m. Origel: “fifty” [File 3A]

11:50:15.5 p.m. Origel: “forty” [File 3A]

11:50:15.16 p.m. Mechanical voice: “sink rate” [File 3A]

11:50:16 p.m. “At 11:50:16, the engines' EPR decreased to about 1.10 until after the airplane touched down, which occurred at 11:50:20.” [Ex. 8A/File 2R]

11:50:16.8 p.m. Origel: “thirty” [File 3A]

11:50:18.6 p.m. Origel: “twenty” [File 3A]

11:50:19.3 Origel: “ten” [File 3A]

11:50:20 p.m. 1420 touched down [File 3A]

Bob Chambers, Ramp Supervisor: “At the time of the airplane touchdown, there was heavy rain falling in sheets at the airport and he observed a large thunderstorm and lightning about a mile to the north of the airport.” Ex. 2B/File 1C]

11:50:21.2 p.m. “[sound of 2 thuds similar to aircraft touching down on runway concurrent with unidentified squeak sound)” [File 3A]

11:50:22 p.m. “The DFDR data shows that at 11:50:22 , the thrust reversers were unlocked…” [Ex. 8A/File 2R]

11:50:23 p.m. Origel: “we're down” [File 3A]

11:50:24 p.m. “…at 11:50:24 , the thrust reversers were deployed.: [Ex. 8A/File 2R]

 


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