Accident Boeing 737-3S3 N313AW,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 190677
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Date:Friday 18 April 1997
Type:Silhouette image of generic B733 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 737-3S3
Owner/operator:America West Airlines
Registration: N313AW
MSN: 23712/1336
Total airframe hrs:34612 hours
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 125
Aircraft damage: None
Location:Las Vegas, NV -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:SNA
Destination airport:LAS
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
America West Flight 66, a Boeing 737-3S3, was maneuvered by the flight crew to avoid a near collision with another aircraft while approximately 25 miles south of McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada, during descent for landing on the CRESO THREE arrival route. One flight attendant was seriously injured. The aircraft was not damaged, and the 2 cockpit crew, 2 cabin crew, and 120 passengers were not injured. The second aircraft was a Beech 99, operated by Ameriflight with the call sign Amflight 1898, as a nonscheduled domestic cargo flight from Las Vegas to Ontario, California. Amflight 1898 was operating on a company VFR flight plan.

The location of the accident is approximately 5 miles outside of the Las Vegas Class B airspace southern boundary. The CRESO THREE Standard Terminal Arrival Route (STAR) graphic states that turbojet aircraft on the arrival should expect to cross WHIGG intersection, 43 miles south, at 12,000 feet. The minimum en route altitude from WHIGG intersection to the next fix on the STAR, CRESO intersection, is 10,000 feet.

According to communication transcripts and radar data, Amflight 1898 was a VFR departure outbound from Las Vegas on a southwesterly course (which was approximately the reciprocal of the CRESO THREE arrival course), and was receiving traffic advisories from Las Vegas TRACON while in the Class B airspace. According to the pilot, he had requested radar traffic advisory services for the entire flight to Ontario from McCarran Clearance Delivery prior to takeoff. According to the pilot and the transcript, at the limit of the Class B airspace, the controller terminated radar services at 1826:08. At that point, Amflight 1898 was level at 7,000 feet and then resumed climbing to it's intended en route cruise altitude of 10,500 feet. Forty seconds later (1826:48), the America West flight (call sign "Cactus 66") checked in with the controller on the CRESO THREE arrival near WHIGG intersection at 12,000 feet. Cactus 66 was cleared to descend to 10,000 feet and was issued a [left 13 degree] vector heading of 020 degrees. Fifty seconds later (1827:38), the controller pointed out the traffic to Cactus 66 as "twelve o'clock and three miles opposite direction altitude indicates nine-thousand, three-hundred" then, at 1827:56, told the flight they could "climb as you wish." At 1827:59, Cactus 66 replied "OK, we're gonna have to do that." At 1828:20, the controller told Cactus 66 that traffic was no longer a factor and instructed the flight to descend to 8,000. Cactus 66 acknowledged the descent and added "that was close."

PROBABLE CAUSE: "inadequate service provided by the TRACON controller, by issuing a radar vector to the Boeing 737 flight, which resulted in inadequate separation from a Beech 99 that the controller had just terminated from radar service; and failure of the controller to provide adequate traffic/safety advisories to the Boeing 737 crew. Additional causes were the delayed initiation of a TCAS evasive maneuver by the first officer (copilot) of the Boeing 737, and failure of the Boeing 737 Captain to adequately supervise the response of the first officer to the TCAS resolution advisory. Inadequate visual lookout by the Beech 99 pilot was a related factor."



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