Board Launched Seven Major Accident Investigations In 2008
The NTSB delivered its 178-page report to Congress this week,
detailing all of the activity across each of its disciplines in the
The Aviation section of the report notes 213 accident
investigation launches last year, of which 7 were major
investigations. There were also 18 requests for international
assistance. The board issues 86 aviation-related
recommendations, and closed 27 investigations.
Among the completed investigations was a February 18, 2007
incident in which an Embraer ERJ-170 regional jet, operated by
Shuttle America, as Delta Connection flight 6448, was substantially
damaged when it overran the end of runway 28 while landing at
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Cleveland, Ohio, during a
snowstorm. The aircraft received substantial damage, but the 74
people onboard were not injured. The Board determined that the
probable cause of the accident was the failure of the flight crew
to execute a missed approach when visual cues for the runway were
not distinct and identifiable.
Ongoing investigations include a June 4, 2007 accident in which
a Cessna 550 (Citation II), operating as a 14 Code of Federal
Regulations (CFR) Part 135 medical transport flight crashed into
the waters of Lake Michigan shortly after takeoff from General
Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All six
people onboard were fatally injured.
There is also a July 31, 2008, accident involving a Hawker
Beechcraft BAE 125-800A, which was destroyed when it impacted
terrain during an attempted go-around at Owatonna Degner Regional
Airport, Owatonna, Minnesota. The nonscheduled domestic
passenger flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR
Part 135. All eight people onboard sustained fatal injuries.
We know, cheery thoughts for your holiday weekend.
Regional accident and serious incident investigations are
handled much like major investigations; but, since they are
typically smaller in scope, a single regional investigator usually
conducts these investigation as investigator-in-charge.
This investigator, working with representatives from other
parties, ensures the investigation includes all the relevant facts,
conditions, and circumstances needed to determine the cause of the
accident and identify any safety issues. The factual reports of the
accidents/serious incidents conducted by the regional investigators
are published on the NTSB’s website. A brief report,
including the probable cause of the accident, is also available
once the probable cause has been determined. A map in the report
shows the most regional accident investigations started in Florida
and California, with more than 12 in each state.
The report also lists some of what the NTSB consider its
significant achievements, among them that on July 16, 2008, the FAA
issued its final rule on fuel tank inerting. This rule was the
result of an NTSB recommendation aimed at eliminating fuel tank
explosions in transport-category aircraft and had been on the
NTSB’s Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements
since 2002, and two important NTSB Safety Alerts issued in 2008.
One addressing how pilots can prevent controlled flight into
terrain when flying at night and the other reminding pilots of the
importance of activating leading edge deice boots at the first sign
of icing. These alerts provided pilots with information from recent
investigations that they can use to prevent accidents.