Event Details

Title:Fuel exhaustion, Avianca, The Airline Of Columbia, Boeing 707-321 B, HK 2016, Fuel Exhaustion, Cove Neck, New York, January 25, 1990
Micro summary:This Boeing 707-321 ran out of fuel and crashed short of the airport.
Event Time:1990-01-25 at 2134 EST
File Name:1990-01-25-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB-AAR-91-04
Site of event:Cove Neck, Long Island
Departure:Jose Maria Cordova Airport, Medellin, Colombia
Destination:John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, USA
Airplane Type(s):Boeing 707-321B
Flight Phase:Approach
Registration(s):HK 2016
Operator(s):Avianca, the Airline of Colombia
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:85
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:On July 19, 1989, at approximately 2134 eastern standard time, Avianca Airlines flight 052, a Boeing 707-321B with Colombian registration HK 2016, crashed in a wooded residential area in Cove Neck, Long Island, New York. AVA052 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Bogota, Colombia, to John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, with an intermediate stop at Jose Maria Cordova Airport, near Medellin, Colombia. Of the 158 persons aboard, 73 were fatally injured.

Because of poor weather conditions in the northeastern part of the United States, the flightcrew was placed in holding three times by air traffic control for a total of about 1 hour and 17 minutes. During the third period of holding, the flightcrew reported that the airplane could not hold longer than 5 minutes, that it was running out of fuel, and that it could not reach its alternate airport, Boston-Logan International. Subsequently, the flightcrew executed a missed approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport. While trying to return to the airport, the airplane experienced a loss of power to all four engines and crashed approximately 16 miles from the airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the flightcrew to adequately manage the airplane's fuel load, and their failure to communicate an emergency fuel situation to air traffic control before fuel exhaustion occurred. Contributing to the accident was the flightcrew's failure to use an airline operational control dispatch system to assist them during the international flight into a high-density airport in poor weather. Also contributing to the accident was inadequate traffic flow management by the Federal Aviation Admini stration and the lack of standardized understandable terminology for pilots and controllers for minimum and emergency fuel states.

The Safety Board also determines that windshear, crew fatigue and stress were factors that led to the unsuccessful completion of the first approach and thus contributed to the accident.

The safety issues raised in this report include:

1. Pilot responsibilities and dispatch responsibilities regarding planning, fuel requirements, and flight following during international flights.

2. Pilot to controller communications regarding the terminology to be used to convey fuel status and the need for special handling.

3. ATC flow control procedures and responsibilities to accommodate aircraft with low fuel state.

4. Flightcrew coordination and English language proficiency of foreign crews.

Recommendations concerning these issues were addressed to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Director, Departmento Administrative de Aeronautico Civil (DAAC), Columbia.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Airspace - Air Traffic Control
Operations - Crew Resource Management
Operations - Controlled Flight Into Terrain
Operations - Deadstick/Power Loss
Operations - Fuel Exhaustion
Operations - Language
Other - Crew Fatigue
Consequence - Hull Loss
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