NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


UPDATE ON PINNACLE AIRLINES CRASH IN JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI

October 20, 2004

The National Transportation Safety Board today released the following update on its investigation of the October 14, 2004 crash of Pinnacle Airlines flight 3701 in a residential area in Jefferson City, Missouri, about three miles south of the Jefferson City, Missouri, airport. The crash resulted in the deaths of the two crewmen. The airplane was destroyed by the impact forces and a post crash fire. There were no passengers onboard, nor were there any injuries on the ground.

On October 14, 2004, the aircraft departed Little Rock, Arkansas about 9:21 p.m. (CDT), on a repositioning flight en-route to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.

Air Traffic Control
At about 9:43 p.m., the flight crew checked in with Kansas City Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) and indicated that they were climbing to 41,000 feet. At approximately 9:52 p.m., the flight crew acknowledged that they were at 41,000 feet. At about 9:54 p.m., the flight crew asked for a lower altitude. At about 9:55 p.m. the flight crew declared an emergency. At about 9:59 p.m. the flight crew requested an altitude of 13,000 feet. At about 10:03 p.m., the flight crew reported that they had experienced an engine failure at 41,000. At 10:08 p.m., the flight crew stated that they had a double engine failure and that they wanted a direct route to any airport (According to the Flight Data Recorder both engines stopped operating almost simultaneously at 41,000 feet.) Kansas City ARTCC directed the flight to Jefferson City Missouri Airport. At about 10:13 p.m., the flight crew stated that they had the runway approach end in sight. The last radar contact for the flight was at 900 feet above ground. The plane crashed at about 10:15 p.m.

Maintenance
On October 14, the day of the accident, the airplane underwent maintenance to replace the 14th stage bleed air- sensing loop on the right engine. During a scheduled 7:45 a.m. departure from Little Rock, Arkansas to Minneapolis St.-Paul, Missouri, an Indicating Crew Alerting System (ICAS) message stating "R 14th duct" occurred during take- off and the flight crew (not the accident crew) aborted the take-off and returned to the gate. The 21 passengers were deplaned. The airplane never left the ground. Two mechanics from Pinnacle's Memphis, Tennessee facility did the repair. During a Safety Board interview on Saturday, the mechanics stated that they only replaced the No. 2 (right) engine's 14th stage bleed air sensing loop. The mechanics completed the repair and tested the system. The aircraft was released for flight. On-scene evidence confirms that the repair was done in accordance with the Aircraft Maintenance Manual.

The aircraft was equipped with two GE CF34-3B1 engines. The right engine had accumulated 2,303 hours and 1,971 cycles since new. It was installed new on the aircraft on October 23, 2003. The left hand engine had 8,856 hours and 8,480 cycles since new. It was removed from another aircraft on October 30, 2003 and installed on the accident aircraft on April 6, 2004. Maintenance records indicate that during an A4 check on June 9, 2004, the left engine igniters were replaced. During an A5 check on August 18, 2004, the right engine igniters were replaced. The most recent check was the A5 check performed on August 18, 2004.

Operations
The Operations group traveled to Memphis to interview pilots who had flown with the two crew members and to interview some of the airlines training personnel and managers. There are 10 to 12 interviews scheduled.

Wreckage
On-scene examination of the wreckage shows there was no sign of an in-flight fire on the structure of the aircraft. The airplane was found inverted and separated in several sections. All four major flight surfaces were found at the main wreckage site. The cockpit area was severely damaged by the post crash fire.

During the Safety Board's examination of the engines, it was noted that there was some thermal damage to the No. 2 engine and that will be further looked at during a teardown in Lynn, Mass. The engines will be shipped out today.

The wreckage is being shipped to Rantoul, Kansas.

Since the accident, the operator, Pinnacle Airlines, has placed a new company altitude restriction on the flight ceiling for their CL600-2B19s of 37,000 feet.

Parties to the investigation are Pinnacle Airlines, Federal Aviation Administration, Air Line Pilot's Association, National Air Traffic Controller's Association, and General Electric (GE). The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has sent an accredited representative along with technical advisors from Transport Canada, the agency that certified the aircraft, and Bombardier Aerospace, the manufacture of the aircraft.

NTSB Media Contact:
Terry N. Williams
202-314-6100
williat@ntsb.gov

 

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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.