Event Details

Title:Uncontrolled Flight Into Terrain , Abx Air (Airborne Express), Douglas DC-8-63, N827AX, Narrows, Virginia, December 22, 1996
Micro summary:This Douglas DC-8 crashed following an attempted stall recovery on an engineering test flight.
Event Time:1996-12-22 at 1810 EST
File Name:1996-12-22-3-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB/AAR-97/05
Site of event:Narrows, Virginia
Latitude/Longitude:N37°19.30' W80°53.06
Departure:Piedmont Triad International Airport, Greensboro, North Carolina (GSO)
Destination:Piedmont Triad International Airport, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
Airplane Type(s):Douglas DC-8-63
Flight Phase:Cruise
Operator(s):Airborne Express
Type of flight:Engineering Test Flight
Serious Injuries:0
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 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 determines 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.

Safety issues discussed in this report include airplane stall recovery procedures for functional evaluation flights, stall warning systems, fidelity of the ABX DC-8 flight training simulator, guidelines and limitations for conducting functional evaluation flights, and Federal Aviation Administration surveillance of air carrier functional evaluation flight programs. Recommendations concerning these issues were made to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Training Flight
Operations - Uncontrolled Flight into Terrain
Consequence - Hull Loss
Close match:Uncontrolled Collision with Terrain, Air Transport International, Douglas DC-8-63, N782AL, Kansas City International Airport, Kansas City, Missouri, February 16, 1995
Loss of directional control, Western Air Lines, Inc., Boeing 720-047B, N3166, Ontario International Airport, Ontario, California, March 31, 1971
Loss of control, Delta Air Lines, Inc., McDonnell Douglas DC-9-14, N3305L, Greater Southwest International Airport, Fort Worth, Texas, May 30, 1972
Uncontrolled collision with terrain, Flagship Airlines, Inc., dba American Eagle Flight 3379, BAe Jetstream 3201, N918AE, Morrisville, North Carolina, December 13, 1994


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