USAir Flight 499

USAir Flight 499

Infobox Airliner accident|name=USAir Flight 499
Date=February 21, 1986 [Note that the original NTSB report marks the date as February 21, 1966. However, the correct date of the accident is February 21, 1986, as verified ]
Site=Erie International Airport
Aircraft Type=McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31
Tail Number=N961VJ

USAir Flight 499 was scheduled to be flown from Toronto, Canada to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a scheduled stop en route in Erie, Pennsylvania, on February 21, 1986. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) later reported that in Toronto, before takeoff, the flight crew discussed the weather reports, and the captain commented that the weather conditions were "not too good". [cite web| title=Aircraft Accident/Incident Summary Reports| publisher=National Transportation Safety Board| url=| pages= [ p. 40] | format=PDF] However, the crew decided to proceed with the flight anyway, and determined that their fuel supply was adequate to complete the flight for the weather conditions in Erie. At 4:00 a.m. EST, at Erie International Airport, a snowplow operator had begun to clear the runways, including Runway 06-24, the runway that Flight 499 was scheduled to land on.cite web| title=Aircraft Accident/Incident Summary Reports| publisher=National Transportation Safety Board| url=| pages= [ p. 41] | format=PDF ] The operator subsequently stated that the snow was "wet". At 5:45 a.m. EST, filing the first Field Condition Report of the day, he stated that braking conditions were poor. Around 35 minutes later, at 6:20 a.m. EST, after filing the first Field Condition Report, the snowplow operator stopped plowing, anticipating the arrival of Flight 499. He later checked braking conditions on the runway again, at 7:15 a.m. EST, using a James Brake Decelerometer installed in a pickup truck, and reported that braking conditions were fair to poor. At around 7:45 a.m. EST, a Beechcraft King Air landed on the runway, and reported to air traffic control that braking action was poor. The King Air pilot observed that there was 1-2 inches of snow on the runway, with no visible bare spots on the runway. Due to visibility and tailwind concerns, Erie Operations directed the dispatcher to advise Flight 499 to proceed to Pittsburgh without stopping at Erie.

However, after further discussion, the dispatcher advised Erie Operations to report to Flight 499, and tell them to make one approach, and if that approach was unsuccessful, then proceed to Pittsburgh. At 8:59 a.m. EST, [Again, the original NTSB report marks 6:59 a.m., instead of 8:59 a.m. However, the only way it would be possible, based on other times given in the report, is if the time was 8:59 a.m., not 6:59 a.m. It also uses 8:59 a.m. later in the report, making this the only logical possible time.] Flight 499 attempted to land on Runway 24 at Erie International Airport. However, the NTSB reported that, although the touchdown was steady, the autospoilers failed to deploy. It was later confirmed that the captain attempted to deploy the autospoilers manually. cite web| title=Aircraft Accident/Incident Summary Reports| publisher=National Transportation Safety Board| url=| pages= [ p. 43] | format=PDF ] The airplane started to drift slowly to the left, and eventually slid off the runway. The NTSB later reported that the airplane ran over a runway end identifier light, struck a chain-link fence, and finally came to a halt about 180 feet away from and 20 feet below the runway's end. One passenger was reported to have bumped her head during the overrun, but there were no other injuries reported.

The NTSB discovered that USAir policy prohibits landing at Runway 24 at Erie International Airport while there is any tailwind. The NTSB also reported that the dispatcher fulfilled his duties. [ cite web| title=Aircraft Accident/Incident Summary Reports| publisher=National Transportation Safety Board| url=| pages= [ p. 46] | format=PDF ] After investigating the case, the NTSB reported that the cause of the crash was due to an improper planning and decision on the part of the pilot-in-command, [ NTSB Brief Summary of the Incident] ] referring to the decision to land at the airport despite reports. It also reported that a go-around was not performed by the pilot-in-command, another reason it lists as a probable cause of the accident.

ee also

*US Airways Incidents

References and notes

External links

*PDFlink| [ Full NTSB report] |5.94 MiB
* [ Brief NTSB report of the accident]

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