Re: Dangerous Aircraft lighting

Date:         05 Sep 97 17:27:25 
From: (Mary Shafer)
Organization: NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards CA
References:   1 2 3
Followups:    1
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On 28 Aug 97 02:30:43 , (Bob Webbink) said:

B> k_ish <> writes:
>Korean DC-10 / commuter at ANC, a TW(?) / private plane, the Tenerife
>accident, a ground near-miss NW DC-10 / NW 747 at MSP, and a TW / NW
>a few years ago in the Midwest were all in broad daylight.  The USAir
>737 / Wings West accident at LAX was at night, but in an area not
>from the control tower.  Seems to me daylight ground collisions are more

B> Actually, the TWA ground collision a few years ago was at night,
B> and the cessna which the TWA MD-80 hit was taxiing on the runway
B> with its lights off....

No, it was more like twilight.  When the TV coverage first started
showing the video feed from the news helicopters, there was still
quite a bit of light, both at LAX and here.  I believe that the sun
had just set.  That flight to Palmdale was the last "daytime" flight,
getting in here before it was completely dark, even in the winter
(wasn't the accident in February?).  Since we're a bit east of LAX and
tend to have less moisture and air pollution around, it would be about
as light when you arrived as when you left.

That flight was very popular here at Dryden because you could get into
LAX in the mid-afternoon, after leaving the East Coast at a reasonable
hour in the morning, and still get home at about the same time that
you'd get home from work.  My co-worker, who was on it, had just come
back from a course at Asilomar that had ended at lunchtime.

Of course, the low sun, or bright western horizon, may also have been
a factor in the visibility problem, since the runways are at about 245
deg. magnetic (24 and 25 for the two complexes).  Except when the
Santa Anas are really blowing hard, planes land from the east and take
off to the west, because of noise abatement requirements.

Mary Shafer               NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA
SR-71 Flying Qualities Lead Engineer     Of course I don't speak for NASA                               DoD #362 KotFR
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