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Accident description
Last updated: 16 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 20 January 1981
Time:11:27
Type:Silhouette image of generic BE99 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft 99A Airliner
Operator:Cascade Airways
Registration: N390CA
C/n / msn: U-101
First flight: 1969
Total airframe hrs:23322
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 7
Total:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 9
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:7,8 km (4.9 mls) SW of Spokane International Airport, WA (GEG) (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 807 m (2648 feet) amsl
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Moses Lake-Grant County Airport, WA (MWH/KMWH), United States of America
Destination airport:Spokane International Airport, WA (GEG/KGEG), United States of America
Flightnumber: 201
Narrative:
Flight 201 departed Moses Lake at 10:55; 80 minutes late due to poor weather conditions at Spokane.
The crew flew a runway 03 instrument approach procedure, requiring an altitude of 3500 feet to be maintained until passing the final approach fix. The crew descended below 3500 feet and impacted slightly rising terrain at an elevation of 2646 feet near the location of the final approach fix.
The aircraft became airborne again, went over a hilltop and came to rest 1380 feet further on. A fire started in the area of the right engine and spread throughout the entire fuselage.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "A premature descent to minimum descent altitude (MDA) based on the flight crew's use of an incorrect distance measuring equipment (DME) frequency and the flight crew's subsequent failure to remain at or above MDA. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the design of the DME mode selector which does not depict the frequency selected and the failure of the flight crew to identify the localizer DME facility."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 182 days (6 months)
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-81-11
Download report: Final report

Sources:
» NTSB Safety Recommendations A-81-39/42
» NTSB-AAR-81-11


Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 10 Safety Recommendations

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations

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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Moses Lake-Grant County Airport, WA to Spokane International Airport, WA as the crow flies is 141 km (88 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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