On March 26, 2002, about 2210 eastern standard time, an Embraer EMB-145LR, N290SK, sustained minor damage during a lightning strike, while descending near Jefferson, New York. The airplane was operated by Chautauqua Airlines Inc. as America West Express flight 5058. There were no injuries to the 3 crewmembers and 14 passengers. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that originated from Port Columbus International Airport (CMH), Columbus, Ohio; destined for Bradley International Airport (BDL), Windsor Locks, Connecticut. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the scheduled air carrier flight conducted under 14 CFR part 121. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The captain stated that the airplane was between 13,000 feet msl and 11,000 feet msl near the SWEDE intersection, on approach to BDL. The airplane was flying through rain and snow, and the weather radar was operating. No cells were depicted on the weather radar, and the flightcrew had not observed any lightning for 20 minutes. The airplane was then noticeably struck by lighting. However, all instruments appeared normal, no caution messages were noted, and the autopilot remained on. The flight continued uneventfully to BDL, but during the landing, "the airplane took more than usual force to flare for landing." Additionally, during the rollout, the gust lock could not be engaged and the elevator was stuck in a "middle position."
A Safety Board meteorologist reviewed digital flight data recorder (DFDR) and weather data. According to the DFDR data, the airplane was traveling in an easterly direction, about 18 nautical miles south of Albany International Airport, Albany, New York, at 13,000 feet msl, at the estimated time of the lightning strike. Review of weather radar data for 2206 and 2212, revealed Level 2 and Level 3 intensity echoes in the vicinity of the airplane, and Level 5 intensity echoes were noted at 15 to 20 nautical miles north and west of the airplane. Additionally, review of lightning data for the period of 2000 to 2220 revealed four cloud to ground strikes within a 15 nautical mile radius of the airplane's estimated position when it was struck.
Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed a "baseball size" hole in the left elevator. He also observed that two of the four elevator control cables had severed. Specifically, both boding jumpers at the horizontal-to-vertical stabilizer were severed, the left lower elevator cable had severed near the rear sector, and the right upper elevator cable near had separated near the rear sector.
Embraer issued Service Bulletin (SB) 145-55-0028, dated May 20, 2002. The SB required the installation of a protective cover to avoid the possibility of boding jumpers contacting the elevator control cables at the rear sectors if they were damaged by a lightning strike, in addition to the introduction of improved and rerouted boding jumpers.
The Brazilian Centro Tecnico Aeroespacial (CTA) issued Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2001-06-03R2, dated June 24, 2002. The AD required accomplishment of Embraer SB 145-55-0028. As of October 1, 2002, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was in the process of drafting a similar AD.