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Accident description
Last updated: 22 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 26 February 1998
Time:17:29
Type:Silhouette image of generic F100 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Fokker 100
Operator:US Airways
Registration: N867US
C/n / msn: 11312
First flight: 1990-07-23 (7 years 7 months)
Total airframe hrs:17724
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 87
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 92
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:Birmingham Airport, AL (BHM) (   United States of America)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Charlotte-Douglas Airport, NC (CLT/KCLT), United States of America
Destination airport:Birmingham Airport, AL (BHM/KBHM), United States of America
Flightnumber:861
Narrative:
A Fokker 100, operated by US Airways as flight 861, experienced loss of directional control while landing at the Birmingham Municipal Airport, Birmingham, Alabama. The airplane was substantially damaged. The flight originated about 16:12, from the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.
While flying in precipitation deviating within 10 miles from the edge of a level 5 thunderstorm associated with a squall line, the airplane was struck by lightning. Arching damage to the No. 1 elevator pressure and No. 2 elevator return hydraulic lines resulted in depletion of the hydraulic fluid from the Nos. 1 and 2 hydraulic system reservoirs.
The airplane was landed on a wet runway and after touchdown, 2 of the 4 main landing gear tires ruptured. The airplane traveled off the left side of the runway, across grass, and came to rest with the nose landing gear separated. A loose canon plug at the parking brake shutoff valve was discovered which prevented the operation of the alternate antiskid system. That area was inspected 2 days earlier. The airplane was only equipped by design with 1 bonding strap located on the left side of the airplane for the horizontal and vertical stabilizer; which failed.
An Advisory Circular recommends that the area be designated for carrying substantial amounts of electrical current, but the airplane was not designed for such. The flight crew was not provided convective sigmets for the central U.S., which indicated severe thunderstorms over Birmingham. The destination airport was near the boundary of the east and central regions for convective sigmets. The airline does not conduct weather radar training in recurrent, upgrade, or requalification training. The dispatcher did not provide to the flight crew weather watches that were available 15 minutes before and after the flight departed.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Were the 1) the inoperative alternate anti-skid control valve due to the disconnected electrical connector on the parking brake shut-off valve, the area was inspected 2 days earlier 2) the total loss of the hydraulic system resulting in the inability of the flight crew to maintain directional control. Factors in the accident were the 1) inadequate lightning protection design of the airplane by the manufacturer between the horizontal and vertical stabilizers which resulted in arching damage to hydraulic lines and depletion of the hydraulic fluid from the Nos. 1 and 2 hydraulic systems 2) inadequate weather information disseminated to the flight crew during the preflight briefing by the company dispatcher for failing to provide current up-to-date information of the intensity, and location of adverse weather 3) the failure of the company dispatcher to relay pertinent weather information to the flight crew while en route which included convective sigmets, and the current extent and intensity of the squall line 4) the operation of the airplane by the flight crew within 10 miles from the northern edge of a ground based weather radar depicted level 5 thunderstorm resulting in a lightning strike 5) insufficient standards/requirements, operation/operator by the company management to require weather radar training in recurrent, upgrade, and requalification training, and 6) the limitations of the weather products provided to the flight crew by the airline for failure to include convective sigmets for the central U.S., based on the geographic location of the destination airport being east of the eastern/central boundary."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 12 months
Accident number: MIA98FA089
Download report: Summary report

Classification:
Lightningstrike
Runway excursion

Sources:
» NTSB


Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 6 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 Charlotte-Douglas Airport, NC to Birmingham Airport, AL as the crow flies is 560 km (350 miles).

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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