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TWA Flight 427

TWA Flight 427
Accident summary
Date November 22, 1994
Summary Runway incursion
Site Bridgeton, Missouri
Total injuries (non-fatal) 8 (minor)
Total fatalities 2
Total survivors 140
First aircraft
Type McDonnell Douglas MD-82
Operator Trans World Airlines
Registration N954U
Passengers 132
Crew 8
Injuries (non-fatal) 8 (minor)
Fatalities 0
Survivors 140 (all)
Second aircraft
Type Cessna 441
Operator Superior Aviation
Registration N441KM
Passengers 1
Crew 1
Injuries (non-fatal) 0
Fatalities 2 (all)
Survivors 0

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 of two flights numbered 427 that would be involved in an incident that year, the other being USAir Flight 427, which crashed in September near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania killing all 132 on board.

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 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 take off, 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 the 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 427 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. It 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 from the actions of the Cessna pilot that he may have believed 30R was the assigned runway for his departure. TWA 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 simultaneously with departing traffic on the right immediately before the Cessna was struck by TWA 427.

The Board recommended ground radar be installed at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, and, 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.

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