National Transportation Safety Boards Report Case Study
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
This report provides a summary of the National Transportation Safety Boards Report on the accident involving a Douglas DC-8-63, N827AX, operated by ABX Air Inc. (Airborne Express). The description provides a brief synopsis of accident flight. The discussion is an examination of the history of the flight and discussion on those findings I found were most causal to the accident that were covered by the National Transportation Safety Board during their investigation. The report also explores those probable causes that attributed to the accident and action provided by the National Transportation Safety board in the prevention of similar mishaps.
On December 22, 1996, at 1810 eastern standard time, a Douglas DC-8-63, N827AX, operated by ABX Air Inc. (Airborne Express) impacted mountainous terrain in the vicinity of Narrows, Virginia, while on a post-modification functional evaluation flight. The three flightcrew members and three maintenance/avionics technicians on board were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by the impact and a postcrash fire. The functional evaluation flight, which originated from Piedmont Triad International Airport, Greensboro, North Carolina, was conducted on an instrument flight rules flight plan and operated under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable causes of this accident were the inappropriate control inputs applied by the flying pilot during a stall recovery attempt, the failure of the nonflying pilot-in-command to recognize, address, and correct these inappropriate control inputs, and the failure of ABX to establish a formal functional evaluation flight program that included adequate program guidelines, requirements and pilot training for performance of these flights. Contributing to the causes of the accident were the inoperative stick shaker stall warning system and the ABX DC-8 flight training simulator’s inadequate fidelity in reproducing the airplane’s stall characteristics.
In all the National Transportation Safety Board concluded there were twenty-three findings that directly contributed to this airplane accident. I will address the ones I feel carried the most impact where if the instance was removed the accident would have be...
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Recommendations include requiring the Douglas Aircraft Company change maintenance and calibration requirements for all DC-8 stall warning systems, improving the fidelity of the simulators in reproducing the stall characteristics of the airplanes they represent, ensure ABX incorporates the revised functional evaluation stall recovery procedure in its FEF program and developing an advisory circular advising aircrew on correct stall maneuver procedures. Additional requirements were for the FAA to identify operations that require special consideration and require special training and operational guidance. They were also to take a more active role in surveillance of FEF programs for air carriers and modify current operating instructions to clarify airworthiness and operational procedural requirements for conducting FEF’s in transport-category aircraft. The Safety Board also reiterated its standing recommendation to present pilots with angle-of-attack information in a visual format and to train them to use the information to obtain maximum possible climb performance.
National Transportation Safety Board, Aircraft Accident Report NTSB/AAR-97/05
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