Narrative:At the time of the incident low visibility and a low cloudbase (7/8 overcast at 100 feet and a general visibility of 1700m in mist) made visual control from the tower impossible. Low visibility procedures were in force. Delta flight 39 had been cleared for take-off from runway 24. Almost at the same time a KLM Boeing 747, being towed and accompanied by a yellow van was cleared to cross runway 24 at the position of exit 2. During the take-off roll the pilots of DAL 39 observed the towed Boeing 747 crossing the runway. The take off was aborted and the aircraft brought to a standstill before reaching the position of the tow.
The following causal factors were identified:
(i) Low visibility weather conditions which prevented Air Traffic Control to visually identify vehicles on the ground;
(ii) Inadequate information during the radio communications between tow (yellow van) and Tower;
(iii) Misinterpretation of position and movement of the tow;
(iv) Take-off clearance without positive confirmation that the runway was unobstructed;
(v) Insufficient teamwork and supervision.
» RVTV Rapport 98-85 / S-14
Official accident investigation report
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 Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport to Atlanta-William B. Hartsfield International Airport, GA as the crow flies is 7014 km (4384 miles).