Gol transportes Aereos flight 1907 was a flight that Boeing 737-8EH was scheduled to move to Rio de Janeiro from Manaus in Brazil. Boeing 737 collided on the air with another aircraft called Embraer Legacy 600 on September 29, 2006. The collision occurred over Mato Grosso state in Brazil (Croft). Embraer Legacy was moving from the US and it had seven occupants. Boeing 737 had six crews and 148 passengers. Boeing 737 was destroyed and all the occupants in it died. Embraer Legacy landed safely, even though its left wing was damaged. The occupants in the Embraer Legacy were not injured (Croft). To avoid similar accidents in the future, communication problems that contributed to the collision and the ineffectiveness of the air traffic controllers in Brazil should be addressed.
The collision between Boeing 737 and Embraer Legacy exposed major air traffic control problems. Two main bodies were involved in investigating the cause of the accident, namely National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Aeronautical Accidents Investigation and Prevention Center (CENIPA). CENIPA released its investigation report in December 2008. According to CENIPA, the accident was caused by improper instructions that were given to the two aircrafts by air traffic controllers from the ground (Croft). The air traffic controllers gave Embraer Legacy improper clearance instructions and failed to correct that mistake after the aircraft took off.
According to the report that was given afterward by NTSB, the air traffic controllers instructed Boeing 737 and Embraer Legacy to move in opposite directions at the same attitude and on the same airway, hence leading to the collision (AirCrashMayday). Also, the report released by NTSB indicated that the collision avoidance system technology of Embraer Legacy was not functioning by the time the collision took place. While NTSB concluded that the pilots of the two aircrafts did not contribute to the accident, CENIPA stated that the pilots of Embraer Legacy also contributed to the accident due to their failure to note and to correct the issue with the collision avoidance system (AirCrashMayday).
Despite the differences in the reports that were released by the two bodies, one notable issue is that the air traffic controllers in Brazil acted in an incompetent manner. In fact, some of them have been found to be guilty in a series of criminal charges taken to courts in Brazil after the accident (AirCrashMayday). Such accidents can only be avoided if air traffic controllers everywhere always communicate properly with cabin crews during flight. The military non-commissioned officers, who carry out the role of air traffic control in Brazil, should be provided with adequate training on how to communicate with cabin crew even from other countries. For instance, there should be air traffic controllers with English skills to communicate with cabin crews from other countries. Also, the air traffic controllers should be required to follow strict communication protocols and rules. In the case of NTSB, it should ensure that all US aircrafts should be fitted with collision avoidance systems that do not fail to function.
Overall, the main cause of the accident between Boeing 737 and Embraer Legacy was lack of proper communication by air traffic controllers in Brazil. The government of Brazil should enhance aviation safety through ensuring that the traffic controllers in the country are competent and they follow strict communication rules and protocols. NTSB should also play its part through ensuring that aircrafts are fitted with effective collision avoidance systems.
- AirCrashMayday. “On This Day in 2006, GOL Flight 1907 collides with an Embraer Legacy over the Amazon Jungle.” September 29. 2016. Web. [https://www.airlive.net/onthisday-in-2006-gol-flight-1907-collides-with-an-embraer-legacy-over-the-amazon-jungle/] Accessed May 2. 2017.
- Croft, John. “NTSB: Loss of ‘effective air traffic control’ at root of 2006 Legacy 600, Gol 737 collision.” Flight Global, December 11. 2008. [https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/ntsb-loss-of-39effective-air-traffic-control39-at-root-of-2006-legacy-600-gol-737-320034/]