Event Details

Title:Crash following engine failure, Southern Airways, Inc., DC-9-31, N1335U, New Hope, Georgia, April 4, 1977
Micro summary:This DC-9 crashed following engine failure during descent after encountering a thunderstorm.
Event Time:1977-04-04 at 1619 EST
File Name:1977-04-04-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB-AAR-78-3
Site of event:State Spur Highway 92, New Hope, Georgia
Latitude/Longitude:N3357'45 W08447'13"
Departure:Huntsville International Airport (Carl T. Jones Field), Huntsville, Alabama, USA
Destination:William B. Hartsfield International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Airplane Type(s):Douglas DC-9-31
Flight Phase:Descent
Operator(s):Southern Airways
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:22
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:About 1619 EST on April 4, 1977, a Southern Airways, Inc., DC-9, operating as Southern Flight 242, crashed in New Hope, Georgia. After losing both engines in flight, Flight 242 attempted an emergency landing on State Spur Highway 92, which bisected New Hope. Of the 85 persons aboard Flight 242, 62 were killed, 22 were seriously injured, and 1 was slightly injured. One passenger died on June 5, 1977. Additionally, eight persons on the ground were killed and one person was seriously injured; the injured person died about 1 month after the accident. Ths aircraft was destroyed.

Flight 242 entered a severe thunderstorm during flight between 17,000 feet and 14,000 feet near Rome, Georgia, while en route from Huntsville, Alabama, to Atlanta, Georgia. Both engines were damaged and all thrust was lost. The engines could not be restarted, and the flightcrew was forced to make an emergency landing.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the total and unique loss of thrust from both engines while the aircraft was penetrating an area of severe thunderstorms. The loss of thrust was caused by the ingestion of massive amounts of water and hail which in combination with thrust lever movement induced severe stalling in and major damage to the engine compressors.

Major contributing factors included the failure of the company's dispatching system to provide the flightcrew with up-to-date severe weather information pertaining to the aircraft's intended route of flight, the captain's reliance on airborne weather radar for penetration of thunderstorm areas, and limitations in the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control system which precluded the timely dissemination of realtime hazardous weather information to the flightcrew.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Airspace - Air Traffic Control
Operations - Deadstick/Power Loss
Systems - Engine - Contained Engine Failure
Consequence - Hull Loss
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