View Full Version : Airport staff face crash charges

29th Jun 2002, 16:25

Airport staff face crash charges
June 28, 2002 Posted: 1901 GMT

MILAN, Italy -- Eleven people, mostly air traffic controllers, face manslaughter charges for a runway accident in which 118 people died.

The 11 have been at the centre of an investigation into the cause of Italy's worst civil aviation disaster.

All the passengers and crew of two planes died when they collided on a runway at Milan's Linate airport last October. Four ground staff were also killed when an SAS jumbo jet careered into a hanger following the collision with a private jet.

Of an original 20 or so people placed under investigation, 11 remained on the prosecutors' list, prosecutor Giuliano Turone told The Associated Press on Friday.

Prosecutors will ask a judge to charge those 11 with manslaughter and other indictments.

Most of the 11 are officials or former officials with ENAV, the national air traffic controllers' association, as well as Linate airport officials.

Excluded from the list was Giorgio Fossa, the president of the company that runs the airport.

The SAS aircraft had veered off the runway as it was taking off after hitting the Cessna, which had crossed into its path. The Cessna had been on the wrong runway at the time.

Investigators said the crash was caused by human error compounded by poor visibility due to heavy fog.

But some claimed the ground radar, out of service for months while a new system was being installed, might have prevented the catastrophe.

Ground radar has since been reinstalled at the airport

29th Jun 2002, 20:36
Since when is an MD-80...a jumbo jet? Usual claptrap tabloid trash...CNN style.

29th Jun 2002, 22:54
I should stick to IT Micheal. Ground radar might make life easier but is not essential to control an airport like Lanate and in any case what do we know of the facts so far. OK if the suits get it huh?

29th Jun 2002, 23:43
I heard a story, the source being very reliable, that immediately after the accident - but due to the fog no-one knew about the collision yet - that an aircraft was cleared to take off. The crew responded that they would wait as they hadn't seen the previous aircraft on TCAS yet.

If accurate, this crew earned a lifetime's salary with one statement!

30th Jun 2002, 01:46
Without question , Ground movement radar IS ESSENTIAL in periods of low visibility no matter what the airfield layout. It allows monitoring of adherence to clearance limits, runway occupancy and assistance to airport emergency services. Any one of which would have been useful in this most unfortunate occurence.

Aunt Rimmer
30th Jun 2002, 02:18
Seriph - have you ever controlled at an airport in fog ? If not, I suggest you keep quiet on a subject you appear to know little about. If you have then I apologise for disturbing you from your one movement a day.

Playstation - couldn't have put it better myself.

All it takes is one pilot getting lost/disorientated and you are in trouble. And that doesn't take into account where the pilot has been before he realises he's lost !

I've 'seen' ac vacate at intermediate links in LVPs onto live taxiways, cross stopbars, enter runways, miss links, taxi onto overrun areas etc... and I've 'seen' it covered up because it would 'cost too much' to install ground radar.

What price a crash ........


Pub User
30th Jun 2002, 02:24

That's a bit of a rash statement.

If procedures are well-developed and monitored, radar is not required, even for airborne procedures, as I'm sure you've noticed at several UK airfields.

Roger de Rofton
30th Jun 2002, 06:39
Sorry Pub User, have to disagree.

If in poor visibility some pilot reports to the tower that he's on 24L when in fact he's pootling down 24R with a747 about to land on top of him, ground radar IS essential. The guy in the tower must take his report at face value if unable to see the a/c. At least the controller (upon who's head all sorts of smelly stuff will fall if they collide) will be able to see that Bloggs is not really on 24L if he has grnd radar and issue appropriate instructions to avoid disaster.

It doesn't matter how good your procedures are, when you add poor vis and people into the equation things can easily turn to ratpoo and any help in avoiding this is all to the good.

I believe ground radar is a must for all airports to cover such occasions.


30th Jun 2002, 06:47
Perhaps this would have helped also


30th Jun 2002, 07:31
So ground radar is essential, therefore how can an airport operate without it, as many do? Were the linate authorities in breach of regulations if not the law? The Tenerife incident was pure pilot error in similar circumstances, looks like this was. As always we are searching for some 'suit' to blame.

30th Jun 2002, 07:42
Simple fact is that ground radar can monitor what a pilot is doing but can't stop him. It is not infallable, it 'may' have prevented this accident maybe not, if the airport was in breach of it's national or local regs in operating without, then the managers and supervisors are liable, if not then lets not cloud the issue. The biggest problem are the confusing and poor taxiway markings at many airfields these days, the result of Euro regs?

30th Jun 2002, 08:42
Surely the necessity of GMR comes down to what level of traffic movement one wishes to achieve safely.

Seriph and Pub User - you are quite correct, several UK airports do operate without GMR, but only under strictly adhered to LVP's.
In most cases this means that in many cases traffic movement is restricted so that fewer aircraft can move unless they are visible to the TWR/Ground movement controller.

Thus delays occur, pressure results on crews and ATCO's.

I am not sure of the traffic levels pertaining to Linate in general, but can you imagine, say Gatwick , without GMR.

Think about it......... Birdseed 2650 standby for push, 20 in the queue ahead of you and I've got a 747 taxiing in call you back next Tuesday !

Kalium Chloride
30th Jun 2002, 09:08
I heard a story, the source being very reliable, that immediately after the accident - but due to the fog no-one knew about the collision yet - that an aircraft was cleared to take off.

Don't know if your reliable source is the same as mine, FlapsOne, but I've heard a similar thing and that the aircraft involved was an Italian Government Gulfstream -- though I can't imagine the PM was on board at the time.

Bally Heck
30th Jun 2002, 09:16
Surely the point here is the blame culture, not whether ground movement radar was installed. Prosecution of an individual who has made a genuine mistake can only be detrimental to safety. It discourages honest open reporting of potential incidents.

It is also a bit beyond me how eleven controllers can be culpable for one accident.

Sam Vimes
30th Jun 2002, 10:38
No argument I have seen here as yet contradicts the basic fact that, even if not a regulatory requirement, GMR is HIGHLY DESIREABLE as an adjunct to safety in LVPs.

Not saying it can't be done without, as many airports operate LVPs safely without it. Just saying that it's an extra string to the safety bow and I would feel better in LVPs knowing someone is keeping an extra eye out.


30th Jun 2002, 10:39
Wasn't there some sort of problem with ATC staffing somewhere in Italy? People bandboxing sectors so their mates could stay at home? Milan does ring a bell.

4th Jul 2002, 14:13
I believe the following aircraft that didn't take off was a Lufthansa, and yes, agree, they did their job !

And by the way, what are "face crash charges" and how can these be "staffed" ?