15 December 2009

Crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 on 12 February 2009

The fatal 12 February crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 is still under investigation by the NTSB, but last week, the airline submitted a report to the NTSB which blamed pilot actions as the probable cause of the accident. The Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft, which was operating as a scheduled Continental Connection flight from Newark, NJ to Buffalo, NY, crashed into a house about five miles from the airport during an instrument approach to runway 23. All four crew members and 45 passengers were killed, as well as one of the three people in the house.

The NTSB launched a major investigation, which is still ongoing. The NTSB's public docket of this investigation contains over 100 items, including a report submitted by Colgan earlier this month. That report identifies the probable cause of the accident as the flight crew’s loss of situational awareness and failure to follow Colgan Air training and procedures, which led to a loss of control of the aircraft.

According to Colgan, contributing to the accident was the flight crew’s failure to follow Colgan Air procedures and training, and the lack of adequate warning systems in the aircraft.

The investigation is not yet completed, and the final NTSB report may or may not reflect the analysis or conclusions of the Colgan report. AirSafeNews.com encourages you to review the Colgan report, and other items in the public docket, as well as following information from the NTSB and AirSafe.com.

Below are two videos. The first is an NTSB recreation of the final few minutes of flight, based on data from both the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder. The second is the initial report of this event created by AirSafe.com.

Colgan Air Crash Animation (no audio)

AirSafe.com's Initial Report on this Accident
Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

Additional accident details
Colgan Air Submission to the NTSB
Other NTSB public docket documents
Other AirSafe.com Videos
Fatal Continental plane crashes
Fatal Dash 8 plane crashes

09 November 2009

Piper Aztec Overruns Runway at Saint Barthélemy Island

On May 23, 2009 a Piper Aztec overran the runway at the airport on Saint Barthélemy island in the Caribbean There were no reported injuries.

08 November 2009

Floatplane Crashes at Takeoff - Photographer Ducks Just in Time

The floatplane (a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, registration N915RC) was in an otherwise normal takeoff from Lake Hood in Anchorage, Alaska on 7 June 2009 when it encountered a right quartering tailwind gust that lifted up the right wing and float. The airplane veered to the left toward a steep bank, and the pilot was unable to correct the deviation and with the rudder. The airplane lifted off, but the float collided with the top of the bank. The airplane cart wheeled about 160 degrees to the left before coming to rest on its right side. It sustained substantial damage to the wings, fuselage, and floats. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures. Reported wind at the airport approximately 3 minutes after the accident was from 020 degrees magnetic at 3 knots, with no recorded gusts.

Fortunately, the pilot and three passengers were not injured. Also fortunate was the fact that the photographer lived to film another day. According to the photographer's description on YouTube, the aircraft passed less than 10 feed from their position.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was the pilot's failure to maintain directional control during takeoff.

Crash During Floatplane Takeoff in Anchorage, AK 7 June 2009

Additional Information

NTSB Factual Summary (PDF)
NTSB Full Narritave
NTSB Probable Cause Determination (PDF)

23 October 2009

Near Crash of a Enstrom Helicopter on a Ship's Helipad

According to the information in the YouTube posting, this incident is from an Enstrom helicopter on the helipad of a Greenpeace ship some where off the coast of Ireland. One of the deck straps has not been released correctly, with very nearly disastrous consequences. what was

22 October 2009

Fatal Crash of a Marine Sea Knight Helicopter on 9 December 1999 Near San Diego

One December 9, 1999, a US Marine CH-46 Sea Knight crashed during a training exercise involving the USNS Pecos. The helicopter had departed from the USS Bonhomme Richard with a crew of 18 for a training exercise at the USNS Pecos.

The helicopter approached the Pecos low and fast, and the left rear wheel of the helicopter had struck and became entangled in the safety netting at the rear of the Pecos. As the pilots attempted to lift off, the helicopter's landing gear remained entangled, causing it to roll to the left and crash into the water.

Eleven of the 18 escaped the helicopter and survived. Seven others were killed in the mishap.

The Marine Corps investigation into the cause of the crash concluded the mishap was caused by human error, stating that the helicopter was flying too low and too fast when it approached the landing pad on the Pecos.

CH-46D Accident on USNS Pecos

USNS Pecos

USMC CH-46 Sea Knight

USS_Bonhomme Richard

Additional Resources
Accident Description from Check-Six.com

20 October 2009

Close Call When an R44 Helicopter Hits a Hanger and Crashed on 5 August 2004

In this 5 August 2004 accident (NTSB Report CHI04LA212) in Chesterfield, MO, a Robinson R44 helicopter (N7036J), with a pilot and three passengers on board, was substantially damaged when the main rotor contacted an open hangar door during takeoff and the helicopter subsequently impacted the ground. The pilot stated that the helicopter was parked on the ramp approximately 35 feet from the hangar. The hangar door was open and extended about 10 feet out over the ramp. A review of a video of the accident taken by a witness on the ground revealed that after the helicopter lifted off, it paused in a hover for a few seconds and then began to climb out, subsequently contacting the door.

The helicopter's main rotor clipped the bottom edge of the door, and then descended to the ramp. The subsequent hard landing caused the skids to collapse and the main rotor to sever the tail boom. A ground witness to the accident submitted a video recording of the accident flight. No drift toward the hangar building was observed prior to rotor blade contact with the door.

Witness Video of Accident Flight
Source: NTSB

Probable Cause
The NTSB concluded that the crash was due to the pilot's inadequate preflight planning, his selection of an unsuitable takeoff area, and his failure to maintain clearance from the open hangar door. They also concluded that the open hangar door was a contributing factor.

Additional Information
Although the NTSB states that the helicopter was substantially damaged, FAA registry records show that the aircraft was destroyed and that the registration number (N7036J) was canceled about three months after the crash.

Related Information
NTSB Factual Report (PDF)
NTSB Probable Cause Findings (PDF)
NTSB Full Narrative

18 October 2009

Crash of "Czar 52" B-52 at Fairchild AFB on 24 June 1994

Every accident is an opportunity to learn about what caused the accident and what can be done to prevent them in the future. Often the cause is partly due to technology, and sometimes the causes are due entirely to human nature. In the case of the crash of a B-52 (call sign Czar 52) at Fairchild Air Force Base in 1994, which occurred during a practice run for an upcoming air show and killed all four crewmen on board, the human failings were in the cockpit, in the organization, and in the larger community around this military unit.

The videos and photo in this posting are dramatic, but the case studies and other material associated with this crash are even more fascinating.

Video From a TLC Show About the Crash

Longer Version of the Accident Flight

Czar 52 Just Prior to Impact

The object near the tail is the hatch cover that was blown out during the copilot's unsuccessful ejection attempt.

Aerial View of Flight Path and Crash Site

Darker Shades of Blue
An excellent overview of the social dynamics and failures of military leadership that led to the accident is Dr. Anthony Kern's Darker Shades of Blue: A Case Study of Failed Leadership. This was an extensively researched case study based on publicly available information from 49 individual testimonies from the USAF aircraft accident investigation board transcripts, or through 11 personal interviews conducted by Dr Kern.

Other Resources
Wikipedia Entry on the Crash
Accident Overview from Check-Six.com
Accident Overview from Wapedia.mobi

28 April 2009

FedEx Express Crash near Tokyo on 23 March 2009

Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | YouTube

23 March 2009 Crash of a FedEx MD-11 near Tokyo

The aircraft was on a cargo flight from Guangzhou, China to Narita Airport near Tokyo, Japan. The aircraft bounced on landing, and contacted the runway a second time nose wheel first. The plane then rolled to the left, hit the runway with its left horizontal stabilizer and wing, caught fire and rolled over onto its back, coming to rest off the left side of the runway. Both crew members were killed. This was the first fatal accident at Narita Airport since it opened in 1978.

This was the fourth crash landing of an MD-11 that led to either fatalities or to the destruction of the aircraft. Two previous crashes involved FedEx Express, a July 1997 crash in Newark, New Jersey, and an October 1999 landing overrun at Subic Bay Airport in the Philippines. No one was killed in these two events. An August 1999 China Airlines crash landing in Hong Kong during a rain storm led to the death of three of the passengers on board. There have been three fatal crashes involving passengers, the most recent being the Hong Kong crash.

About two hundred MD-11s were built, and about 182 are currently in service. FedEx Express operates the world's largest MD-11 fleet with about 57 active aircraft. Well over half of all active MD-11s are flying as dedicated cargo aircraft, with many of them being converted passenger airliners (including about 19 aircraft operated by Lufthansa Cargo). In addition to the two MD-11 crashes, NTSB records indicate that FedEx MD-11 aircraft have been in at least five other landing incidents or accidents involving either a bounced landing or a tail strike.

AirSafe.com YouTube channel.
Other FedEx Express Plane Crashes
Other MD-11 Plane Crashes

24 January 2009

Ditching of a US Airways A320 on the Hudson River in New York

Crash of US Airways Flight 1549

Audio: MP3 | Video: iPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.

On 15 January 2009, a US Airways A320 experienced a loss of power to both engines shortly after taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. The crew was able to successfully ditch the aircraft in the Hudson River near midtown Manhattan. Reportedly, the aircraft encountered a flock of birds shortly after takeoff. The aircraft reached an maximum altitude of about 3200 feet before it began to descend. After ditching, all five crew members and 150 passengers evacuated the aircraft. One passenger sustained serious injuries.

According to early reports, the aircraft took off normally toward the north, but the flight crew reported striking a flock of birds about two minutes after takeoff. Both engines lost power, and unable to either return to LaGuardia or to land in nearby Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, the crew turned the aircraft toward the south. After flying over the George Washington Bridge, the crew executed a controlled ditching on the Hudson River just west of midtown Manhattan. The passengers and crew escaped with the help of numerous ferries, tour boats, fireboats, and other vessels in the area.

This was the first crash of an Airbus A320 operated by a US airline. The A320 has had eight events involving passenger fatalities. The first was a 1988 crash involving Air France, and the most recent was a May 2008 crash of a TACA airliner in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

While many jet airliners have crashed in the water, prior research by AirSafe.com revealed only three previous events where the crew of a large passenger jet intentionally ditched the aircraft in a controlled manner. Prior to the US Airways event, the most recent ditching involved a hijacked Ethiopian Airlines 767 in 1996. The others included a 1963 ditching of an Aeroflot jet in Leningrad (present day St. Petersburg), and a 1970 ditching of a DC-9 in the Caribbean.

Fatal and serious bird strike related crashes of large jet aircraft are also quite rare. The last fatal US bird strike accident involving a large jet was the crash of a US Air Force E-3 AWACS in Alaska in 1995. The last time bird strikes led to passenger deaths in the US was in 1960 in Boston. Since 1990, five other large jet airliners have crashed due to bird strikes, but only one involved fatalities.

The following video is from a compilation of Glenn Pew of AvWeb

The NTSB is currently investigating this US Airways accident. For updates on this investigation, and for the latest news from AirSafe.com, visit hudson.airsafe.org.

For related information, visit:
Previous US Airways Crashes
Other Significant A320 Events
Bird Strike Hazards to Aircraft
Jet Airliner Ditching Events