Recently, an American Eagle (operated by Envoy Air) flight 3499 from Dallas-Fort Worth to Tyler Pounds Regional airport had to turn around during the approach phase and return back to DFW. This was because the pilots couldn’t reach the ground crew at TYR.
Tyler Pounds Regional airport is an extremely small facility with only one commercial airline and destination – American Eagle to DFW. Air traffic control at the airport is only active for around 16 hours per day from 6:30AM-9:30PM CDT. This is interesting because flight 3499 is presumably the final flight to arrive at TYR before the ATC facility closes up. The airport is attended up until 10PM CDT.
What’s more interesting is that on Sunday, 7/24, flight 3499 left DFW late at 9:24PM CDT, only six minutes before the ATC facility closed. Typically when ATC is closed, flights utilize a set of standardized procedures like following STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Route) and SID (Standard Instrument Departure) instructions and a common frequency known as the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency; Essentially the flight crew announces position and intentions on that common frequency – Envoy 3499, on Base to TYR.
On Sunday, flight 3499 began its initial descent at around 10:30PM CDT, which was 30 minutes after the ground crew departed the airport, which adds sense to why the flight crew couldn’t reach Tyler ground. The company says an investigation is ongoing.
Upon arrival at DFW, passengers had to wait for another pilot to arrive to fly them back to Tyler, most likely due to FAA-mandated rest periods.
American Eagle #3499 is normally scheduled to arrive in Tyler around 9PM CDT, but on this night it eventually arrived at 12AM CDT. Just in case you were wondering (because I certainly was), you can hop in a car and drive two hours from DFW to TYR.
I’m siding with Tyler Pounds Regional airport on this one. The American Eagle flight was clearly late and I’d be interested to hear if dispatch contacted TYR operations ahead of time informing them of the schedule delay.
TYR airport representative Davis Dickson said it was “very likely” that the flight crew didn’t contact TYR operations on approach because by the time they were at the approach phase the airport was already closed.
Props for calling a spade a spade, Mr. Dickson.
Has this type of situation ever happen to you?
(Hat tip to CBS19)
Tyler, Texas public relations reached out to me to clarify the story I shared above. Here is their statement:
Tyler Pounds Regional Airport received information about a delayed American Eagle Flight on Sunday, July 24. Envoy Airlines operates the American Eagle airline service at the Tyler Airport. Members from Envoy and Tyler Pounds Regional Airport have investigated the matter further and have updated findings surrounding the flight.
The flight was originally scheduled to arrive at 9:35 p.m. but was delayed at DFW Airport. At approximately 10:00 p.m. the flight was in range to land at Tyler Pounds Regional, but the flight crew of the Envoy Airlines flight was not able to contact the Envoy ground crew. The flight crew decided to returned to the DFW Airport. It was reported that the flight crew was unable to contact the air traffic control tower. It is very likely the flight crew did not contact the air traffic control tower due to its closing at 9:30 p.m. as posted in the FAA facility directory.
After the flight arrived back at DFW Airport, it was refueled and landed in Tyler with no incident. The time of arrival in Tyler was reported at 12:10 a.m. Monday morning. A media report stated that the parking staff member was not at his station and had to return to allow passengers out of the parking lots. According to records and video footage reviewed by the airport, the plane arrived on the tarmac at 12:10 a.m. and the first credit card transaction exiting the parking lot was recorded at 12:16 a.m.
“It is very important to our team to gather all the facts about this incident to determine its causes,” said Davis Dickson, airport manager. “We have interviewed some of our customers and gathered a number of documents validating the timelines of this event. It’s valuable for us to work from the facts to take action as needed.”
The airport has reviewed the airfield inspection reports and found that the airfield systems were in compliance.
Thus far the airport continues research to learn if the facility experienced a lightning strike and will assist Envoy in the investigation.