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AT73, en-route, Roselawn IN USA, 1994

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Category: Weather Weather
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Loss of Control – Airframe Icing


On 31 October 1994, an ATR 72 operated by Simmons Airlines, crashed near Roselawn, Indiana, USA, following loss of control due to airframe icing.


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

“On October 31, 1994, at 1559 Central Standard Time, an Avions de Transport Regional, model 72-212 (ATR 72), registration number N401AM, leased to and operated by Simmons Airlines, Incorporated, and doing business as American Eagle flight 4184, crashed during a rapid descent after an uncommanded roll excursion. The airplane was in a holding pattern and was descending to a newly assigned altitude of 8,000 feet when the initial roll excursion occurred. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces; and the captain, first officer, 2 flight attendants and 64 passengers received fatal injuries. “

The probable cause of the accident was given as:

“The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the loss of control, attributed to a sudden and unexpected aileron hinge moment reversal, that occurred after a ridge of ice accreted beyond the deice boots while the airplane was in a holding pattern during which it intermittently encountered supercooled cloud and drizzle/rain drops, the size and water content of which exceeded those described in the icing certification envelope. The airplane was susceptible to this loss of control, and the crew was unable to recover.”

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