Aircraft Accident Report

Crash of Pinnacle Airlines Flight 3701
Bombardier CL-600-2B19, N8396A
Jefferson City, Missouri
October 14, 2004

NTSB Number AAR-07/01
NTIS Number PB2007-910402

Executive Summary:  On October 14, 2004, about 2215:06 central daylight time, Pinnacle Airlines flight 3701 (doing business as Northwest Airlink), a Bombardier CL-600-2B19, N8396A, crashed into a residential area about 2.5 miles south of Jefferson City Memorial Airport, Jefferson City, Missouri. The airplane was on a repositioning flight from Little Rock National Airport, Little Rock, Arkansas, to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Minneapolis, Minnesota. During the flight, both engines flamed out after a pilot-induced aerodynamic stall and were unable to be restarted. The captain and the first officer were killed, and the airplane was destroyed. No one on the ground was injured. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 on an instrument flight rules flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable causes of this accident were (1) the pilots’ unprofessional behavior, deviation from standard operating procedures, and poor airmanship, which resulted in an in-flight emergency from which they were unable to recover, in part because of the pilots’ inadequate training; (2) the pilots’ failure to prepare for an emergency landing in a timely manner, including communicating with air traffic controllers immediately after the emergency about the loss of both engines and the availability of landing sites; and (3) the pilots’ improper management of the double engine failure checklist, which allowed the engine cores to stop rotating and resulted in the core lock engine condition. Contributing to this accident were (1) the core lock engine condition, which prevented at least one engine from being restarted, and (2) the airplane flight manuals that did not communicate to pilots the importance of maintaining a minimum airspeed to keep the engine cores rotating.

The safety issues discussed in this report focus on flight crew training in the areas of high altitude climbs, stall recognition and recovery, and double engine failures; flight crew professionalism; and the quality of some parameters recorded by flight data recorders on regional jet airplanes. Safety recommendations concerning these issues are addressed to the Federal Aviation Administration.