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Latest revision as of 20:43, 20 March 2017

On 1 June 1999, an MD82 belonging to American Airlines, overran the end of the runway during landing. The captain and 10 passengers were killed.
Event Details
When June 1999
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Fire Smoke and Fumes, Human Factors, Runway Excursion, Weather
Day/Night Night
Flight Conditions On Ground - Normal Visibility
Flight Details
Operator American Airlines
Domicile United States
Type of Flight Public Transport (Passenger)
Origin Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
Intended Destination Adams Field/Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed No
Flight Phase Landing
Location - Airport
Airport Adams Field/Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport
Tag(s) Post Crash Fire
Tag(s) Distraction,
Inappropriate crew response (automatics),
Ineffective Monitoring,
Procedural non compliance,
Tag(s) Precipitation-limited IFV,
Strong Surface Winds,
Low Level Windshear
Tag(s) Emergency Evacuation,
RFFS Procedures
Safety Net Mitigations
Wind Shear Escape Guidance Available but ineffective
Damage or injury Yes
Aircraft damage Hull loss
Non-aircraft damage Yes
Injuries Many occupants
Fatalities Few occupants (11)
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation,
Aircraft Airworthiness,
Air Traffic Management,
Airport Management
Investigation Type
Type Independent

Runway Excursion following approach to landing in poor weather


On 1 June 1999, an MCDONNELL DOUGLAS MD-82 belonging to American Airlines, overran the end of the runway during landing. The captain and 10 passengers were killed.


This is an extract from the Executive Summary of the official report into the accident published by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) (USA)

“On June 1, 1999, at 2350:44 central daylight time, American Airlines flight 1420, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82), N215AA, crashed after it overran the end of runway 4R during landing at Little Rock National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas. Flight 1420 departed from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas, about 2240 with 2 flight crewmembers, 4 flight attendants, and 139 passengers aboard and touched down in Little Rock at 2350:20. After departing the end of the runway, the airplane struck several tubes extending outward from the left edge of the instrument landing system localizer array, located 411 feet beyond the end of the runway; passed through a chain link security fence and over a rock embankment to a flood plain, located approximately 15 feet below the runway elevation; and collided with the structure supporting the runway 22L approach lighting system. The captain and 10 passengers were killed; the first officer, the flight attendants, and 105 passengers received serious or minor injuries; and 24 passengers were not injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire…

The probable cause of the accident was given as:

“…The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable causes of this accident were the flight crew’s failure to discontinue the approach when severe thunderstorms and their associated hazards to flight operations had moved into the airport area and the crew’s failure to ensure that the spoilers had extended after touchdown. Contributing to the accident were the flight crew’s

  1. impaired performance resulting from fatigue and the situational stress associated with the intent to land under the circumstances,
  2. continuation of the approach to a landing when the company’s maximum crosswind component was exceeded, and
  3. use of reverse thrust greater than 1.3 engine pressure ratio after landing..”

The report included the following weather observation, which was recorded around the time of the accident but not disseminated, which gives an indication of the possible weather experienced by the aircraft on the approach:

"Little Rock weather observation at 0450:31Z, winds from 290° at 16 kts29.632 km/h <br />8.224 m/s <br /> gusting to 28 kts51.856 km/h <br />14.392 m/s <br />, visibility 1 1/2 miles in thunderstorm and heavy rain[41] and mist, a few clouds at 3,700 feet, ceiling overcast 5,000 feet, temperature 18.9°C66.02 °F <br />292.05 K <br />525.69 °R <br />, dew point 16.7°C62.06 °F <br />289.85 K <br />521.73 °R <br />, altimeter 29.94 inches of Hg. Remarks: ASOS observation, peak wind from 290° at 35 kts64.82 km/h <br />17.99 m/s <br /> at 0433Z, wind shift at 0431Z, thunderstorm began at 0423Z, rain began at 0424Z, sea level pressure 1014.0 mb [millibars], frequent lightning in-cloud, and cloud-to-cloud, west through northwest, occasional lightning in-cloud, cloud-to-cloud, and cloud-to-ground east, thunderstorm west through northwest, thunderstorm east moving east, precipitation since last hourly observation 0.37 inches."

Related Articles

Further Reading

  • Runway overrun During Landing, American Airlines Flight 1420, McDonnel Douglas MD-82, N215AA, Little Rock, Arkansas, June 1, 1999: NTSB Accident Report AAR-01/02