TWA Flight 427
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|Date||November 22, 1994|
|Type||McDonnell Douglas MD-82|
|Operator||Trans World Airlines|
TWA Flight 427, registration N954U, was a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 departing Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in Bridgeton, Missouri for Stapleton International Airport in Denver, Colorado on November 22, 1994. On the takeoff roll it struck a Cessna 441, registration N441KM, killing both of its occupants. It was the second Flight 427 to crash that year, the other being USAir Flight 427.
The Cessna had been cleared by ground control to back-taxi on runway 31 to the end and wait for takeoff clearance. For reasons unknown it continued beyond this point on taxiway R to runway 30R and held in position there. TWA Flight 427 was cleared by ground control to taxi to runway 30R by crossing runway 30L then down taxiway P to the end. After receiving permission to takeoff the copilot initiated the takeoff roll. When the Captain called 80 knots an off-duty crewmember in the jumpseat yelled, "There's an airplane!" Braking was immediately initiated and the Captain attempted to use the rudder to go around the Cessna to the left. The jet struck the Cessna on their right side, shearing off the top of the small plane. The pilot and passenger on the small plane were instantly killed. The Captain immediately asked for safety equipment, and passenger evacuation was initiated, resulting in eight minor injuries. Aircraft continued to land on runway 30L and taxi nearby during passenger evacuation. The captain of TWA Flight 4271 was Rick Carr, the First Officer was Randy Speed, and the ACM was Randy Richardson.
The resulting NTSB investigation determined that the Cessna had recently flown in from Iron Mountain, Michigan. They had landed on runway 30R and dropped off a passenger before preparing for the return flight. A commercial-rated pilot and a pilot-rated passenger, married to an employee of Superior Aviation, were on board as it left the ramp. The ATIS information broadcast to all pilots advised runways 30L and 30R were in use for arrivals and departures. Although runway 31 was routinely used in these conditions for General Aviation aircraft, this information was not included on the hourly ATIS broadcast.
The board concluded that from the actions of the Cessna pilot may have believed 30R was the assigned runway for his departure. TWA Flight 427 was cleared for takeoff while the Cessna was likely still on the ground frequency. The Cessna pilot requested permission to take off, "Kilo Mike ready to go from the right side." The tower advised they could not clear him to take off simultaneous with departing traffic on the right immediately before the Cessna was struck by TWA Flight 427.
The Board recommended ground radar be installed at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. Further that pilots should be required to read back runway assignments and controllers verify readback. A previous recommendation that airports should immediately close following any incident until the situation has been assessed was also included.
As of 2008 runway 13/31 has been converted into taxiway F. Taxiway R has been renamed to taxiway J and taxiway P is now taxiway E.