NTSB Identification: MIA98FA089.
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Scheduled 14 CFR US AIRWAYS, INC.
Accident occurred Thursday, February 26, 1998 in BIRMINGHAM, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2001
Aircraft: Fokker F28 MK 0100, registration: N867US
Injuries: 92 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While flying in precipitation deviating within 10 miles from the edge of a level 5 thunderstorm associated with a squall line, the airplane was struck by lightning. Arching damage to the No. 1 elevator pressure and No. 2 elevator return hydraulic lines resulted in depletion of the hydraulic fluid from the Nos. 1 and 2 hydraulic system reservoirs. The airplane was landed on a wet runway and after touchdown, 2 of the 4 main landing gear tires ruptured. The airplane traveled off the left side of the runway, across grass, and came to rest with the nose landing gear separated. A loose canon plug at the parking brake shutoff valve was discovered which prevented the operation of the alternate antiskid system. That area was inspected 2 days earlier. The airplane was only equipped by design with 1 bonding strap located on the left side of the airplane for the horizontal and vertical stabilizer; which failed. Advisory Circular recommends that the area be designated for carrying substantial amounts of electrical current, but the airplane was not designed for such. The flight crew was not provided convective sigmets for the central U.S., which indicated severe thunderstorms over Birmingham. The destination airport was near the boundary of the east and central regions for convective sigmets. The airline does not conduct weather radar training in recurrent, upgrade, or requalification training. The dispatcher did not provide to the flight crew weather watches that were available 15 minutes before and after the flight departed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

Were the 1) the inoperative alternate anti-skid control valve due to the disconnected electrical connector on the parking brake shut-off valve, the area was inspected 2 days earlier 2) the total loss of the hydraulic system resulting in the inability of the flight crew to maintain directional control. Factors in the accident were the 1) inadequate lightning protection design of the airplane by the manufacturer between the horizontal and vertical stabilizers which resulted in arching damage to hydraulic lines and depletion of the hydraulic fluid from the Nos. 1 and 2 hydraulic systems 2) inadequate weather information disseminated to the flight crew during the preflight briefing by the company dispatcher for failing to provide current up-to-date information of the intensity, and location of adverse weather 3) the failure of the company dispatcher to relay pertinent weather information to the flight crew while en route which included convective sigmets, and the current extent and intensity of the squall line 4) the operation of the airplane by the flight crew within 10 miles from the northern edge of a ground based weather radar depicted level 5 thunderstorm resulting in a lightning strike 5) insufficient standards/requirements, operation/operator by the company management to require weather radar training in recurrent, upgrade, and requalification training, and 6) the limitations of the weather products provided to the flight crew by the airline for failure to include convective sigmets for the central U.S., based on the geographic location of the destination airport being east of the eastern/central boundary.

Full narrative available

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