The following text has been reproduced from NTSB Report OPS02SA003 into this incident:
History of Flight
At 0703:50 [UTC], the flight crew of ROK17 contacted the LAX local controller (LC1) and advised they were on a visual approach to runway 6R. Radar data indicated the airplane's radar track was approximately 7 miles west of the airport on a southerly heading. The LC1 controller issued the flight crew a landing clearance for runway 6R and advised that opposite direction traffic was departing the south complex turning southbound at the shoreline. The flight crew acknowledged the transmission.
At 0704:14, the LC1 controller issued the flight crew of QAF108 a take off clearance for runway 25R and advised of opposite direction traffic landing the north complex. The flight crew acknowledged the transmission.
At this point the LC1 controller began assisting the flight crew of Aero Mexico 460, the previous arrival to runway 6R that required assistance exiting the runway. According to the FAA, the LC1 controller walked to the north side of the tower cab (opposite side from the LC1 position) to view the situation. The controller returned to the LC1 position and noticed ROK17 was south of course heading northeast bound and at 0704:55, transmitted to the flight crew, "confirm turning back to six right." The flight crew responded, "affirmative." Radar data indicated the airplane's radar track began a left turn.
The LC1 controller then assisted the flight crew of Aero Mexico 460, who needed additional instructions to exit runway 6R. According to the FAA, the LC1 controller walked to the north side of the tower cab again to view the situation. The controller returned to the LC1 position and noticed ROK17 appeared to be aligned for runway 7L and at 0705:31, instructed the flight crew to "turn immediately north you are lined up for runway seven there's a seven forty seven opposite direction." The flight crew acknowledged the instructions. Radar data indicated the target separation was 4.05 miles and 1,300 feet.
The LC1 controller then instructed the flight crew of QAF108 to turn left heading 210 degrees and advised, "the Boeing seven five seven is moving out of your way." The flight crew of QAF108 responded, "that was close." Radar data indicated the closest proximity between the 2 targets was 1.17 miles and 600 feet.
The LC1 controller reissued the landing clearance to the flight crew of ROK17 and advised QAF108 to change to departure control frequency.
Approximately 2 minutes later the flight crew of ROK17 apologized to the LC1 controller on the frequency and stated that they had made a mistake and were not aligned properly for runway 6R.
a. Airport Information
The Los Angeles International Airport is located in the northwest suburbs of LosAngeles, California adjacent to the Pacific coastline. The terrain is largely flat to coastal with large expanses of urban areas.
The airport has dual parallel runways. Runways 6L/24R and 6R/24L are referred to as the north complex and runways 7L/25R and 7R/25L comprise the south complex.Runway 6R is 10,285 feet long and 150 feet wide with a displaced threshold of 331 feet. The runway is equipped with high intensity runway lights, runway centerline lighting and medium-intensity approach lighting system with runway alignment indicator lights. According to the FAA, at the time of the incident the appropriate lighting systems for runway 6R were on and operating normally.
b. Tower and ATC Operations
The Los Angeles Air Traffic Control Tower is a Level 12 ATC facility, and is classified as a tower with radar. The tower is centrally located on the airport between the north and south complexes. The tower operation can accommodate 2 local control positions, Local 1 (LC1) and Local 2 (LC2). The LC1 workstation is located on the south side of the tower cab and is typically responsible for arrival and departure operations at the south complex. The LC2 workstation is located on the north side of the tower cab and typically responsible for the arrival and departure operations at the north complex.
At the time of the incident the local control positions were combined at LC1. In this type of configuration the LC1 controller was responsible for operations at both the north and south complexes. LAX was conducting over ocean operations, which consisted of airplanes arriving runway 6R (north complex) and departing runway 25R (south complex). According to the facility's Standard Operating Procedures Manual, LAXT 7110.1B, the operation is used primarily during 0000 and 0630 (Pacific Time) to mitigate noise. During these hours the facility's runway selection program requires the use of the inboard runways (6R and 25R) to the maximum extent possible.
c. Meteorological Information
The LAX surface weather observation at 2350 PDT indicated wind conditions from 240 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 6 statute miles, sky condition clear, temperature 17 degrees Celsius, dew point 16 degrees Celsius, altimeter 29.98 (inches of mercury).
d. Applicable ATC Procedures
I. Visual separation is a means employed by ATC to separate aircraft within airport traffic areas. Tower controllers base separation on observed or known traffic and airport conditions. Visual separation procedures are outlined in FAA Order 7110.65, "Air Traffic Control", paragraph 7-2-1 and states in part:
Visual separation may be applied between aircraft under the control of the same facility within the terminal area up to but not including FL 180, provided:
1. Communication is maintained with at least one of the aircraft involved or the capability to communicate immediately as prescribed in 3-9-3, Departure Control Instructions, subparagraph a2 is available, and:
2. The aircraft are visually observed by the tower and visual separation is maintained between the aircraft by the tower. The tower shall not provide visual separation between aircraft when wake turbulence separation is required or when the lead aircraft is a B757.
II. FAA Order 7110.65, paragraph 2-1-6, Safety Alert states in part:
Issue a safety alert to an aircraft if you are aware the aircraft is in a position/altitude, which in your judgment places it in unsafe proximity to terrain, obstructions, or other aircraft.
|Date:||24 August 2002||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||0705 hours UTC||Investigation phase:|
|Location:||2 km WSW Los Angeles, Airport||Investigation type:||Occurrence Investigation|
|State:||International||Occurrence type:||Loss of separation|
|Release date:||06 March 2003||Occurrence class:||Airspace|
|Report status:||Final||Occurrence category:||Serious Incident|
|Highest injury level:||None|
Aircraft 1 details
|Aircraft manufacturer||The Boeing Company|
|Type of operation||Air Transport High Capacity|
|Damage to aircraft||Nil|
|Departure point||Los Angeles, USA|
|Departure time||0700 hours UTC|
Aircraft 2 details
|Damage to aircraft||Nil|
|Destination||Los Angeles, USA|