Narrative:At 06:12 Piper PA-23 Apache N2185P took off from Pine Shadows. The pilot, an Eastern Airlines DC-9 captain had to check in at Tampa at 07:20 to command Flight 164 from Tampa to Newark. Weather at Tampa was worsening and RVR at touchdown of 600 feet, midpoint and rollout 800 feet was reported to the Apache pilot. Though the Apache is classified as approach category A (min. RVR 1800 feet), the ILS approach to runway 36L was continued. At 06:47 the Apache pilot reported he was executing a missed approach.
At 06:58 the aircraft was cleared for 2nd approach with RVR at touchdown reported 600 feet, 1000 feet midpoint and 800 feet at rollout. RVR midpoint later deteriorated to 800 feet.
At the same time a Pan American Boeing 727 (Flight 301) was cleared to taxi to runway 36L via taxiway W at 07:01. While passing taxiway W-2 the 727 crewmembers saw the Apache coming out of the fog on a head-on collision course. The Apache pitched up and banked slightly to the left The no. 1 engine struck the 727's lower nose area and separted. The Apache passed under the wing and skidded another 100 feet and caught fire.
The Boeing was evacuated.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The decision of the Apache pilot to continue a precision instrument approach below the published decision height when the required visual references were not distinctly visible and identifiable. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to obtain a predeparture weather briefing before choosing a means to travel to his destination."
» Aviation Letter 241
» ICAO Adrep Summary 5/88 (#8)
Follow-up / safety actions
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Tampa International Airport, FL to Newark International Airport, NJ as the crow flies is 1597 km (998 miles).