DC93, vicinity Charlotte NC USA, 1994

DC93, vicinity Charlotte NC USA, 1994

Summary

On 2 July 1994, an DC-9 operated by US Air, collided with trees and a house shortly after attempting a missed approach at Charlotte Airport, USA, in heavy thunderstorms. 37 passengers were killed.

Event Details
When
02/07/1994
Event Type
HF, LOC, WX
Day/Night
Day
Flight Conditions
IMC
Flight Details
Operator
Type of Flight
Public Transport (Passenger)
Flight Origin
Intended Destination
Take-off Commenced
Yes
Flight Airborne
Yes
Flight Completed
No
Phase of Flight
Missed Approach
Location
Location - Airport
Airport
General
Tag(s)
Approach not stabilised, Inadequate ATC Procedures
HF
Tag(s)
Ineffective Monitoring, Procedural non compliance
LOC
Tag(s)
Environmental Factors
WX
Tag(s)
Strong Surface Winds, Low Level Windshear
Outcome
Damage or injury
Yes
Aircraft damage
Hull loss
Non-aircraft damage
Yes
Non-occupant Casualties
No
Occupant Injuries
Many occupants
Occupant Fatalities
Many occupants
Off Airport Landing
Yes
Ditching
Yes
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s)
Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s)
Aircraft Operation
Aircraft Airworthiness
Air Traffic Management
Investigation Type
Type
Independent

Description

On 2 July 1994, an DC-9 operated by US Airways, collided with trees and a house shortly after attempting a missed approach at Charlotte Airport, USA, in heavy thunderstorms. 37 passengers were killed.

Synopsis

This is an extract from the Executive Summary of the official report into the accident published by the National Transportation Safety Board (National Transportation Safety Board (USA) (NTSB)) (USA).

“On July 2, 1994, about 1843 eastern daylight time, a Douglas DC-9, N954VJ, operated by USAir, Inc., as flight 1016, collided with trees and a private residence near the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina, shortly after the flightcrew executed a missed approach from the [ILS] approach to runway 18R. The captain, first officer, one flight attendant, and one passenger received minor injuries. Two flight attendants and 14 passengers sustained serious injuries. The remaining 37 passengers received fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an [IFR] flight plan had been filed…"

The probable cause of the accident was given as:

"…The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable causes of the accident were:

  • The flightcrew’s decision to continue an approach into severe convective activity that was conducive to a microburst;
  • The flightcrew’s failure to recognize a windshear situation in a timely manner;
  • The flightcrew’s failure to establish and maintain the proper airplane attitude and thrust setting necessary to escape the windshear;
  • The lack of real-time adverse weather and windshear hazard information dissemination from air traffic control;

…all of which led to an encounter with and failure to escape from a microburst-induced windshear that was produced by a rapidly developing thunderstorm located at the approach end of runway 18R.

Contributing to the accident were:

  • The lack of air traffic control procedures that would have required the controller to display and issue airport surveillance radar (ASR-9) weather information to the pilots of flight 1016;
  • The Charlotte tower supervisor’s failure to properly advise and ensure that all controllers were aware of and reporting the reduction in visibility and the runway visual range value information, and the low level windshear alerts that had occurred in multiple quadrants;
  • The inadequate remedial actions by USAir to ensure adherence to standard operating procedures, and
  • The inadequate software logic in the airplane’s windshear warning system that did not provide an alert upon entry into the windshear."

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