Event Details

Title:Loss of tail empennage on landing, McDonnell-Douglas Corporation, DC-9-80; N980DC, Edwards Air Force Base, California, May 2, 1980
Micro summary:This McDonnell-Douglas DC-9-80 experienced a loss of its tail empennage in this landing during the test-flight program.
Event Time:1980-05-02 at 0634 PDT
File Name:1980-05-02-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB-AAR-82-2
Site of event:Edwards AFB runway 22
Departure:Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA
Destination:Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA
Airplane Type(s):McDonnell Douglas DC-9-80 (MD-80)
Flight Phase:Landing
Operator(s):McDonnell Douglas Corporation
Type of flight:Certification Test Flight
Serious Injuries:1
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:About 0634 P.d.t, May 2, 1980, a McDonnell-Douglas, Inc., DC-9-80, N980DC, crashed while trying to land on runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The aircraft was on a certification test flight to determine the horizontal distance required to land and bring the aircraft to a full stop as required by 14 CFR 25.125 when the accident occurred.

The aircraft touched down about 2,298 feet beyond the runway threshold. The descent rate at touchdown exceeded the aircraft's structural limitations; the empennage separated from the aircraft and fell to the runway. The aircraft came to rest about 5,634 feet beyond the landing threshold of runway 22 and was damaged substantially. Seven crewmembers were on board; one crewmember, a flight test engineer, broke his left ankle when the aircraft touched down.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the pilot's failure to stabilize the approach as prescribed by the manufacturer's flight test procedures. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the lack of a requirement in the flight test procedures for other flight crewmembers to monitor and call out the critical flight parameters. Also contributing to this accident were the flight test procedures prescribed by the manufacturer for demonstrating the aircraft's landing performance which involved vertical descent rates approaching the design load limits of the aircraft.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Hard Landing
Consequence - Damage - Airframe or fuselage
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