Preliminary Report: Brasilia slides off slippery runway

 - February 5, 2008, 5:54 AM

Embraer EMB-120ER, Cedar City, Utah, March 16, 2003–At 10:45 p.m. MST Embraer N214SW, operating as Skywest Airlines Flight 3622 and flown by an ATP-rated pilot, sustained minor damage during its takeoff roll when the airplane departed the left side of Runway 20 at Cedar City Municipal Airport and struck a runway-remaining marker before coming to a halt in the adjacent field. Runway 20 is 7,802- by 150-foot asphalt strip and was covered in slush at the time of the accident.

The local reported weather at the time of the accident was clouds 400 feet broken and 1,100 feet overcast, visibility one-half mile, snow and fog, temperature and dew point 32 degrees and altimeter 29.59 inches. The scheduled Part 121 passenger flight was departing Cedar City for a trip to St. George Municipal Airport, Utah. There were no injuries among the crew or the 12 passengers.

N214SW’s captain reported they were due to take off at 9:36 p.m. but the airplane was delayed at the end of the runway awaiting its clearance. Due to icing conditions, the captain opted to taxi back to the ramp area to be de-iced. During the de-icing procedure the captain coordinated with ATC to expedite the takeoff, and the aircraft then taxied to the runway and began its takeoff roll. The captain told the accident investigator that during the takeoff roll the crew saw an ice warning light that diverted their attention to inside the cockpit. When they looked back outside the airplane, it was headed off the runway.

The airport manager reported that at the time of the incident, the runway was covered with one to 1.5 inches of slush. He said he examined the tire tracks in the slush and reported the airplane began its takeoff roll left of the runway centerline. He said the tire tracks continued to move further to the left of centerline as the aircraft proceeded down the runway until they were off the left side of the runway.

An examination of the airplane showed that both propeller blades were torsionally bent and curled at the tips. The rotating beacon on the bottom of the airplane’s fuselage was broken off. Fuselage skin in the vicinity of the beacon was torn and wrinkled. There were also several punctures in the lower fuselage skin. An examination of the airplane’s systems revealed no anomalies.