Republic E175, Republic E170, Chautauqua E135 at Washington on Jul 31st 2012, loss of separation

Last Update: September 6, 2012 / 15:37:00 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 31, 2012

Classification
Incident

Airline
Republic

Aircraft Type
Embraer ERJ-175

ICAO Type Designator
E175

The NTSB have released their factual report reporting that runway 01 was in use at Washington National Airport, when the supervisor of Potomac Approach Mount Vernon (MTV) called the Washington National (DCA) supervisor. The supervisor was on another phone line, a traffic management coordinator (TMC) answered the phone. MTV advised that they were having problems getting a number of arrivals in and asked whether they "could flush them all into 19". TMC advised 8 departures were waiting but noticed some of them were delayed and advised she would call back.

A minute later TMC called MTV and stated "... go ahead and run them in quickly." She later stated she had not heard the request for 19 but thought MTV was requesting tighter spacing for arrivals on runway 01.

MTV asked how many departures were waiting, TMC replied one departure. MTV then went offline to coordinate the change with the relevant sectors. Following that coordination he called DCA again, another TMC answered the phone and confirmed "You know that’s fine – whatever you’ve got, no problems with that, run them (inbound aircraft) in."

In the meantime tower had instructed RP-3071 to line up runway 01 followed by takeoff clearance. After the aircraft had departed YX-3467 was cleared for takeoff from runway 01.

When RP-3379 reported on tower, the controller - not aware of the intention to use runway 19 - was puzzled by the call "on the river".

The MTV supervisor noticed there were still departures to the north and called DCA supervisor, this time the supervisor picked up himself and was not aware of the requested runway change but immediately went to resolve the situation. MTV supervisor called again requesting to stop departures from Washington National Airport, but there was no response.

MTV supervisor called again on the supervisor line, the TMC answering the initial call responded again and stated ""I thought you were going to run them in on 1, I didnÂ’t think 19." The MTV supervisor responded, "No, 19, I said it over and over again."

About 15 minutes after the problem arose and after traffic had returned to normal DCA supervisor called MTV supervisor and stated "OK well I think we had an error there" and received the reply "Yeah, probably a couple of them."

The NTSB stated based on radar data that the vectors issued by tower to turn the arriving aircraft established the aircraft to turn onto diverging flight trajectories. The aircraft however was maneouvering at 1800 feet MSL where minimum vectoring altitude was 2000 feet.

Minimum separation between RP-3329 and RP-3071 was 800 feet vertical and 0.8nm horizontal, minimum separation between RP-3329 and YX-3467 was 800 feet vertical and 2.05nm.

When DCA supervisor checked who had approved runway 19 operation, the TMC first answering MTVs phone call reported she had approved reduced separation runway 01.

The MTV supervisor said in post event interviews that unforecast convectivity had made it difficult to vector aircraft for approaches to runway 01, he noticed there were few departures from National Airport and therefore proposed to use runway 19. After some communication he received a "run them in" and coordinated the runway switch. He got aware of the loss of separations when a flight controller gasped and pointed out there were two departures to the north.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 31, 2012

Classification
Incident

Airline
Republic

Aircraft Type
Embraer ERJ-175

ICAO Type Designator
E175

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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