NTSB Cites Pilots’ Poor Decision-making in Report on CRJ Overrun

June 10, 2008, 12:24 PM

The NTSB said today that a Pinnacle Airlines CRJ200 overran the end of a runway in Traverse City, Mich., last year because the pilots elected to land in snow without performing the required landing-distance calculations. 

The Board adopted its final report on the April 12, 2007, accident in which Pinnacle Flight 4712, operating as Northwest Airlink, ran off the departure end of Runway 28 after landing at Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport. None of the 49 passengers and three crewmembers sustained injuries, but the airplane suffered substantial damage. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

“Our recommendations are designed to reduce injuries and deaths and prevent accidents like this from occurring,” said NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker. “Piloting an aircraft should not be guess work. There are rules and guidelines that need to be followed at all times, and it is imperative that the Federal Aviation Administration enforce these recommendations.”

The probable cause cites the pilots’ decision to land without performing a landing-distance assessment, which company policy required because of runway contamination first reported by airport ground personnel and continuing reports of deteriorating weather and runway conditions throughout the approach. The poor decision-making likely reflected the effects of fatigue produced by a long, demanding duty day, and, for the captain, the duties associated with check airman functions, according to the NTSB.

The Safety Board also said FAA flight and duty time regulations that allowed such a long duty day contributed to the accident, as did the airport operations supervisor’s use of ambiguous and unspecific radio phraseology in providing runway braking information.

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