Event Details


Title:Turbulence injury, Boeing 767-224, April 22, 2002
Micro summary:This Boeing 767-224 encountered turbulence in cruise, seriously damaging a flight attendant
Event Time:2002-04-22 at 0230 EDT
File Name:2002-04-22-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NYC02LA088
Pages:6
Site of event:Atlantic Ocean
Departure:Guarulhos International Airport, So Paulo, So Paulo, Brazil
Destination:Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark & Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA
Airplane Type(s):Boeing 767-224
Flight Phase:Cruise
Registration(s):N68160
Operator(s):Continental Airlines
Type of flight:Revenue
Occupants:122
Fatalities:
Serious Injuries:1
Minor/Non-Injured:121
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:

NTSB short summary:

The airplane's inadvertent encounter which clear air turbulence during cruise flight.

NTSB synopsis:

The airplane was in cruise flight at flight level 360, over the Atlantic Ocean, about 75 miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico, when it encountered turbulence. One flight attendant sustained a serious injury, and one flight attendant and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The flight continued to its destination and landed without further incident. Review of National Weather Service Weather Surveillance Radar revealed echoes along the airway where the turbulence event occurred; which implied that the turbulent event was likely associated with a Convective Induced Turbulence (CIT) encounter related to the airflow associated with cumulonimbus activity, and possibly above and downwind of the cumulonimbus cloud tops.

NTSB factual narrative text:

On April 22, 2002, about 0230 eastern daylight time, a Boeing 767-224, N68160, operated by Continental Airlines Inc, as flight 30, encountered turbulence while in cruise flight over the Atlantic Ocean, about 75 miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Three airline transport rated flight crew members, 110 passengers, and 6 flight attendants were not injured; however, 1 flight attendant sustained a serious injury, and 1 flight attendant and 1 passenger sustained minor injuries. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Sao Paulo, Brazil, destined for the Newark International Airport (EWR), Newark, New Jersey. The scheduled passenger flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 121.

According to a representative of Continental Airlines, the flight crew reported that the airplane was in cruise flight at flight level 360, on the "A-300 airway, between DDP and LENNT," when the airplane encountered clear air turbulence.

In a written statement, the pilot-in-command (PIC) said he was seated in the captain's seat, when the international relief officer (IRO) relieved the first officer as the flying pilot. Shortly thereafter, the airplane was "in turbulence and red lights were flashing, indicating mach overspeed." The PIC immediately took control of the airplane, reduced the power to idle and disconnected the autopilot. Additionally, he stated that the seat belt sign was "on" and the disruption from smooth flight lasted "maybe 3 seconds, but was quite startling."

The flight continued to EWR, and landed without further incident.

The airplane was equipped with a Fairchild L-3 Communications digital flight data recorder (DFDR). Examination of the DFDR by a Safety Board Vehicle Recorder Specialist's revealed the airplane experienced a vertical acceleration which ranged between +1.66 and -0.19 g's during the turbulence event.

According to a to Safety Board's Meteorological Study prepared for this accident:

The National Weather Service (NWS) tropical weather discussion issued at 0200, indicated that the middle and upper level synoptic features consisted of a cyclonic circulation center located near 160 miles north of the Dominican Republic. A trough of low pressure extended from the circulation center to just south of Jamaica. Dry air and subsidence was indicated north and northwest of the immediate vicinity of the turbulence event.

The closest NWS Weather Surveillance Radar-1988, Doppler (WSR-88D) was located in southern Puerto Rico. Review of the base reflectivity image taken at 0244 depicted several bands of convection oriented in a northeast to southwest direction extending west through northeast of the island, with another area east through southeast. The band north of Puerto Rico had a maximum echo of 54 decibels (dBZ) with other echoes ranging from 15 to 49 dBZ. The echoes covered the airway where the turbulence event occurred; which implied that the turbulent event was likely associated with a Convective Induced Turbulence (CIT) encounter related to the airflow associated with cumulonimbus activity, and possibly above and downwind of the cumulonimbus cloud tops.

Learning Keywords:Operations - Turbulence
Consequence - Flight Attendant Fatality - Injury
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