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NWA fined $33k Formation flying 747

Fri Mar 12, 1999 9:44 am

I finally remembered to bring this article into work to share with you guys. I'll summerize it for yall. It if from the Star Tribune Newspaper out of the twin cities.

Northwest Airlines is to be fined $33,000 dollars by the FAA, A 747 captain is to recive a ninty day license suspension along with two B24 pilots and a Northwest dispatcher is to be fined $1000 dollars.. It seems that last July a 747 with 373 passengers on board had a captian that was also on his retirement flight. The suits in the public relations department decided that since this captain was a rated B-24 pilot and it would be a nice surpise to have the flight fly formation with a restored B-24J. It was arranged that the B24 would be vectored into formation by the FAA controlers when the 747 with the captain arrived in MSP after a 12 hour flight from Osaka, Japan. The first word that the crew on the 747 received was when the controllers requested flight 24 to decend to 7000FT. The B24J did set of the TCAS set on the 747 but Northwest CEO John Dasburg said that there was no hazard. A camera crew from KARE-TV was on board the B-24 filming the event and the airing of this footage is what first got the attention of the FAA.

No sanctions or fines where mentioned against the controllers who vectored the two aircraft together. Also it should be noted that one of the safety violations the FAA is complaning about is that the the 747 captain radioed the B24 directly instead of going through the the controller? Apperently this communication is considered "non-esential" by the FAA.

RE: NWA fined $33k Formation flying 747

Fri Mar 12, 1999 9:59 am

This seems to break another rule being that formation flight is only allwed when both pilots have planned for it. BA has flown empty 747 with the red arrows. That must have been fun!

RE: NWA fined $33k Formation flying 747

Fri Mar 12, 1999 10:34 am

Too bad the FAA can spend its time on dumb, relatively minor stuff like this, while failing to order necessary safety changes, like replacement of Capoten wiring and better black boxes on old aircraft. The FAA routinely ignores recommendations of the NTSB for years. What a joke.
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RE: NWA fined $33k Formation flying 747

Sat Mar 13, 1999 7:02 am

I think it's a great gesture from NW. It surely beat the normal water cannon salute.