Tuesday, April 24, 2007

NTSB update on Pinnacle CRJ runway overrun at Traverse City

airportToday the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued an advisory regarding its investigation of a runway overrun earlier this month by a regional jet at Traverse City, Michigan (TVC). The Pinnacle Airlines CL-600 aircraft, operating as Northwest Airlink Flight 4712, slid off the runway after landing. No injuries were reported, but the FAA's preliminary report for the event listed damage to the aircraft as "substantial."

The accident occurred shortly after midnight on April 12, 2007. According to today's NTSB report, the aircraft had departed from Minneapolis and was cleared for an ILS approach to runway 28 at TVC. The NTSB report says:
Weather was reported as snowing. Automatic weather observation data indicated at 12:30 am, the visibility was one-half mile in snow, with indefinite ceiling and vertical visibility of 200 feet. Snow removal operations were in progress at the airport, and the flight crew communicated directly with airport operations regarding the runway conditions.

After landing, the airplane overran the departure end of runway 28, which is 6,501 feet long, with an additional 200 feet of pavement. Initial examination indicates that the airplane exited the paved surface onto a grassy snow- covered field, the nose gear separated from the fuselage, and the airplane came to rest about 100 feet beyond the pavement. The passengers and crew exited the airplane via the main cabin door.
There were 46 passengers -- including three lap-held infants -- and three crew on board.

The NTSB reports that the flight data and cockpit voice recorders were recovered from the airplane and read out at the NTSB laboratory in Washington, DC. Both were in good condition and include the accident flight. A CVR transcript is in preparation.

A news report about the accident on TV station WZZM-13 quotes an airline spokesperson who said the plane couldn't brake when it landed. At the time snow was falling heavily and the temperature was right at the freezing point. That news report includes a brief video clip shot at the scene of the accident.

Another news report, on the website of station TV7&4, has several photos of the aircraft which show it leaning on its nose in the snow. The airstairs at the 1L door appear to be almost horizontal.

The NTSB report mentioned that the nose gear separated from the fuselage. The TV7&4 news report quoted a passenger from the flight who claimed to have seen "the landing gear rolling down the runway beside the plane as it swerved off to the side."

According to the NTSB, the aircraft was piloted by the captain, a company check airman who had a total time of about 5,600 hours, with 4,390 flight hours in the CRJ-200. The F/O was a new-hire who had been working for Pinnacle since January of this year. The F/O had 2,500 total flight hours, with 15 flight hours in the CRJ-200. But get this: One news report about the accident in the Traverse City Record-Eagle mentioned that the flight was part of the F/O's IOE. You have to feel particularly sorry for that poor guy!

[Photo Source]