The National Transportation Safety Board determined today that the probable cause of the 2008 plane crash at Owatonna Degner Regional Airport, Owatonna, Minnesota, was the captain's decision to attempt a go-around late in the landing roll with insufficient runway remaining. Contributing to the accident were the pilots' poor crew coordination and lack of cockpit discipline; fatigue, which likely impaired both pilots' performance; and the failure of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to require crew resource management training and standard operating procedures for Part 135 operators.
"This accident serves as a reminder that aviation is an unforgiving environment; no detail is too small to be overlooked - not the winds, or the communication between crew members, or even how much sleep they get," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "The small things do matter and in this case they accumulated to result in tragedy."
On July 31, 2008, East Coast Jets flight 81, a Hawker Beechcraft Corporation 125-800A, crashed while attempting a go-around after touchdown and during the landing rollout at Owatonna Degner Regional Airport. The flight was a nonscheduled passenger flight. An instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed and activated; however, it was cancelled before the landing. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The two pilots and six passengers were killed.
The safety issues addressed in this investigations are: the flight crew actions; pilot fatigue and sleep disorders; the lack of Part 135 Standard Operating Procedures, including crew resource management training and check list usage; go- around guidance for turbine-powered aircraft; Part 135 preflight weather briefings; inadequate arrival landing distance assessment guidance and requirements; Part 135 on- demand, pilot-in command line checks; and cockpit image recording systems.
As a result of this accident investigation, the NTSB issued recommendations to the FAA regarding training, Standard Operating Procedures, and sleep disorders.
A synopsis of the accident investigation report, including the findings, probable cause, and safety recommendations, can be found on the Board Meetings page of the NTSB's website. The complete report will be available on the website in several weeks.