USAir Flight 1016
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (July 2013)|
A USAir McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31, similar to the one involved
|Date||July 2, 1994|
|Summary||wind shear, meteorological phenomenon known as a microburst|
|Site||Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
|Aircraft type||McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31|
|Flight origin||Columbia Metropolitan Airport|
|Destination||Charlotte/Douglas Int'l Airport|
USAir Flight 1016 was a regularly scheduled flight between Columbia, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina. On Saturday, July 2, 1994, the plane, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 registered N954VJ, departed Columbia Metropolitan Airport at 18:15 EST for the 35-minute flight to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. On board, there were 52 passengers (including two infants), three flight attendants, and two pilots. The flight was uneventful until the approach to Charlotte, where several heavy thunderstorms were in the vicinity of the airport. The flight was cleared by the tower to land on runway 18R (now 18C). The plane, flown by the first officer, approached the runway in heavy rain conditions. The tower controller issued a windshear warning to all aircraft, but on a different radio frequency than that used by Flight 1016.
About a minute later, as Flight 1016 was on final approach, the captain, realizing that his aircraft was in a serious predicament, instructed the first officer to 'Take it around, go to the right'. He then radioed the control tower and stated 'USAir ten sixteen's on the go'. The plane struggled to climb due to the severe weather conditions, immediately veered to the right and began to rapidly descend. The flight crew desperately tried to control the airplane as it plummeted toward the ground.
At 18:42 EST, the DC-9 touched down in a field within the airport boundary, about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) from the threshold of runway 18R. It then crashed through the airport fence and impacted several trees, breaking apart while skidding down a residential street that was on the airport boundary. The plane broke into four major sections; the front 40 feet (12 m) of the airplane, including the cockpit and the unoccupied first class passenger cabin, came to rest in the middle of Wallace Neel Road. The rear section of the fuselage, including the tail and the rear mounted engines, came to rest in the carport of a house.
Of the 52 passengers on board, 37 died due to blunt force and/or fire, 14 suffered serious injuries, and one had minor injuries. Of the five crew members, both pilots suffered minor injuries, two flight attendants were seriously injured and the remaining flight attendant sustained minor injuries. There were no injuries to people on the ground.
After a lengthy investigation by the NTSB, it was concluded that a microburst had been generated by the thunderstorm that was over the airport at the time of the crash. The NTSB listed these contributing factors:
- The flight crew's decision to continue the approach in a severe thunderstorm
- The failure of the flight crew to recognize wind shear quickly (exacerbated by an error in the wind shear alert software)
- The failure of the flight crew to establish proper control and engine power that would have brought them out of the wind shear
- The lack of timely weather information by air traffic control to the crew of flight 1016
In the media
- Delta Air Lines Flight 191
- American Airlines Flight 1420
- Airborne wind shear detection and alert system
- Low level windshear alert system
- Interview with Richard DeMary, flight attendant aboard flight 1016
- Photo of N954VJ, prior to the crash
- Official NTSB report
- NTSB probable cause report
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network