NTSB Identification: NYC03IA027.
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Scheduled 14 CFR (D.B.A. Delta Connection)
Incident occurred Sunday, November 17, 2002 in Rockville, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/02/2004
Aircraft: Canadair CL-600-2B19, registration: N868CA
Injuries: 51 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.
About 3 hours before takeoff, the dispatcher approved the flight release, which contained SIGMET Whiskey 8 for occasional severe turbulence from 14,000 feet to FL 280, and then went off duty. The turbulence box overlaid the departure airport and planned en route climb to altitude; however, the top of descent (TOD) and destination airport were clear of the turbulence. When the pilot printed the flight release, SIGMET Whiskey 8, had been replaced with SIGMET Whiskey 9. The turbulence box had moved east of the departure airport, and the TOD and destination airport remained clear of the turbulence box. The flight release also contained a single pilot report of severe turbulence from a Boeing 737 at FL 240, within the defined area of turbulence. Prior to departure, but after the flight release was signed by the pilot, the flight release was updated again, this time with SIGMET Whiskey 10. The turbulence box moved further east to cover the TOD and destination airport. Nearing his destination, the pilot was descended into the turbulence box defined by both SIGMET Whiskey 9 and Whiskey 10. These turbulences boxes ranged from Ottawa, Canada, to Florida, to Cleveland, Ohio. The pilot had turned on the seat belt sign, asked the flight attendant to be seated, and had already made an announcement for the passengers to remain seated as they were within 30 minutes of the destination airport. While descending through 17,800 feet, the flight encountered severe turbulence. The airplane was not equipped with ACARS. Flight crews were required to monitor dispatch frequency for updates, and encouraged to get weather updates en route. Weather updates were accomplished by direct radio contact between the dispatcher and pilots, or by the pilots accessing FAA facilities while en route. Although the operator had about 100 flights operating in the turbulence box, none were cancelled due to forecast turbulence, or reported to have encountered severe turbulence.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be: The PIC's inadvertent encounter with turbulence while operating in an area of forecast occasional severe turbulence. Full narrative available
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