NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


Update on the NTSB investigation of May 2000 plane crash in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

July 5, 2000

WASHINGTON - The National Transportation Safety Board developed the following factual information in connection with its investigation into the May 21, 2000, crash of an Executive Airlines aircraft near Wilkes-Barre, Pa., in which 19 people perished:

Under the control and supervision of NTSB investigators, "teardowns" of the aircraft propellers and engines were recently conducted at the manufacturers' facilities (Dowty and Honeywell, respectively). Detailed examinations during the engine and propeller teardowns revealed indications of rotation on the left engine at the time of impact; however, power output has not been determined. The right engine and propellers exhibited little to no rotation at the time of impact. NTSB investigators continue to examine the engine and propeller assemblies. No conclusion has been made yet regarding power loss or interruption on either engine.

NTSB investigators continue looking into several fuel-related aspects of the accident. Although fueling records for the airplane in the days leading up to the accident have been compiled, further work regarding actual flight times and fuel burn rates will be necessary before more accurate fuel loads can be established. Analysis of a fuel sample taken from the truck that fueled the airplane when it last received fuel at Farmingdale, N.Y., on the day of the accident revealed no anomalies. The NTSB retained several components of the fuel system for further analysis.

Additional analysis of the air traffic control (ATC) radar data will be conducted to reconstruct the airplane's path and performance during its approaches into the Wilkes-Barre airport. The ATC audio tapes of radio transmissions and a recording of radio transmissions made by a private citizen are still being analyzed by engineers in the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) laboratory at NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C. The engineers will attempt to extract any useful information, including that related to engine performance.

The airplane's Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) had no audio information associated with the accident flight on it when it was examined at NTSB after the accident. The accident aircraft's CVR was subsequently taken to the recorder manufacturer for analysis. The recorder was found to operate properly. Further investigation into the CVR failure is being conducted by NTSB CVR specialists.

NTSB investigators returned to Wilkes-Barre this week to conduct additional documentation of the wreckage and certain components. During the next few months, NTSB investigators will also continue to analyze engine and airplane performance data and perform metallurgical examination of aircraft components, as appropriate.

NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100

 

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.