March 31, 2017 |

Remembering an Accident: Western Airlines Flight 470

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On a short, domestic flight on March 31, 1975, a Western Airlines flight had a horrible accident. The plane overran the runway causing major damage to the Boeing 737. Out of the 96 passengers and 6 crew members, only 4 injuries and no deaths occurred. But, what happened?

According to the investigation that was performed in October 1975 (7 months later), the root cause was “poor judgement” by the pilot-in-command. The crew recounted the accident stating there was poor weather and visibility, which caused them to misguide their callouts to the pilot. Was it someone’s fault? Should there be better processes for landing aircrafts in poor weather? Should there be a better way to determine if the weather is even safe to fly in? Should there be improvements on runway lighting/guidance? These are questions that should be asked to develop more effective corrective actions and avoid future, potentially fatal, accidents.

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