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Accident Report Detail

Delta Air Lines, Inc., Lockheed L-1011-385-1, N726DA

Executive Summary

On August 2, 1985, at 1805:52 central daylight time, Delta Air Lines flight 191, a Lockheed L-1011-385-1, N726DA, crashed while approaching to land on runway 17L at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas. While passing through the rain shaft beneath a thunderstorm, flight 191 entered a microburst, which the pilot was unable to traverse successfully. The airplane struck the ground about 6,300 feet north of the approach end of runway 17L, hit a car on a highway north of the runway killing the driver, struck two water tanks on the airport, and broke apart. Except for a section of the airplane containing the aft fuselage and empennage, the remainder of the airplane disintegrated during the impact sequence, and a severe fire erupted during the impact sequence. Of the 163 persons aboard, 134 passengers and crewmembers were killed; 26 passengers and 3 cabin attendants survived.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable causes of the accident were the flightcrew's decision to initiate and continue the approach into a cumulonimbus cloud which they observed to contain visible lightening; the lack of specific guidelines, procedures, and training for avoiding and escaping from low-altitude wind shear; and the lack of definitive, real-time wind shear hazard information. This resulted in the aircraft's encounter at low altitude with a microburst-induced, severe wind shear from a rapidly developing thunderstorm located on the final approach course.

Accident Location: Dallas , TX   Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport
Accident Date: 8/2/1985
Accident ID: DCA85AA031

Date Adopted: 8/15/1986
NTSB Number: AAR-86-05
NTIS Number: PB86-910406