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Accident Report Detail

Flight into Terrain during Missed Approach USAir 1016, DC-9-31, N954VJ

Executive Summary

On July 2, 9 994, about 1843 eastern daylight time, a Douglas DC-9-31, N954VJ, operated by USAir, Inc., as flight 1016, collided with trees and a private residence near the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina, shortly after the flightcrew executed a missed approach from the instrument landing system approach to runway 98R. The captain, first officer, one flight attendant, and one pascenger received minor injuries. Two flight attendants and 14 passengers sustamed serious injuries. The remaining 37 passengers received fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. Instrument meteorological conditions prekaiied at the time of-the accident, and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed. Flight 9096 was being conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as a regularly scheduled passenger flight from Columbia, South Carolina, to Charlotte.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable causes of the accident were: 1) the flightcrew’s decision to continue an approach into severe convective activity that was conducive to a microburst: 2) the flightcrew’s failure. to recognize a windshear situation in a timely manner, 3) the flightcrew’s failure to establish and maintain the proper airplane attitude and thrust setting necessary to escape the windshear; and 4) the lack of real-time adverse weather and windshear hazard information dissemination from air traffic control, all of which led to an encounter with and failure to escape from a microburst-induced windshear that was produced by a rapidly developing thunderstorm located at the approach end of runway 18R.

Contributing to the accident were: 1) the lack of air traffic control procedures that would have required the controller to dispiay and issue airport surveillance radar (ASR-9) weather information to the pilots of flight 1016, 2) the Charlotte tower supervisor's failure to properly advise and ensure that all controllers were aware of and reporting the reduction in visibility and the runway visual range value information, and the low level windshear alerts that had occurred in multiple quadrants: 3) the inadequate remedial actions by USAir to ensure adherence to standard operating procedures: and 4) the inadequate software logic in the airplane’s windshear warning system that did not provide an alert upon entry into the windshear.

Accident Location: Charlotte , NC    
Accident Date: 7/2/1994
Accident ID: DCA94MA065

Date Adopted: 4/4/1995
NTSB Number: AAR-95-03
NTIS Number: PB95-910403