USAir Flight 1493

USAir Flight 1493 Facts

Date February 1, 1991
Location Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Aircraft Boeing 737-300 (operated by USAir) & Fairchild Metroliner (operated by SkyWest Airlines)
Fatalities 34 total


On February 1, 1991, a USAir Boeing 737-300 flying from Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) via Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) collided with a Fairchild Metroliner aircraft on landing2.

The Metroliner, operated by SkyWest Airlines had taxied onto the active runway to await takeoff clearance, however did not receive it before the USAir aircraft landed1.

Twenty-two passengers out of eighty-nine aboard the Boeing 737-300, and all twelve passengers on the Metroliner died3.

For a step-by-step analysis of the accident, watch the Mayday episode titled 'Cleared for Disaster' on National Geographic: .

USAir Flight 1493 Boeing 737-300 following post-crash fire. Image from


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) attributed the Air Traffic Controller’s loss of situational awareness to be the active error causing the accident. The controller was unable to keep track of aircraft under her control and could not view them on the runway. However this was itself caused by:

- the procedures in place at the Los Angeles International Airport control tower
- ergonomic factors within the control tower:
- how flight progress strips were organised and dealt with
- the positioning of the control tower (rooftop lights from a nearby building caused glare in the tower making it difficult to view the runway)2.

1. Kilroy, C. (n.d.). Special report: USAir Flight 1493. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from
2. National Transportation Safety Board. (1991). Runway collision of USAir Flight 1493, Boeing 737 and SkyWest Flight 5569 Fairchild Metroliner, Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, California, February 1, 1991 (Aircraft Accident Report NTSB/AAR-91/08). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
3. Wikipedia. (August 10, 2010). USAir Flight 1493. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from
4. Tailstrike (n.d.). USAir 1493. Retrieved September 9, 2010 from

Want to know more?

Watch the Mayday episode titled 'Cleared for Disaster' on National Geographic for a step-by-step analysis of the accident: .

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