Colgan Air’s (Continental Connection) (Manassas) captain of Colgan Air flight 3407 “inappropriately responded to the activation of the stick shaker, which led to an aerodynamic stall from which the airplane did not recover.” according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
According to the NTSB; “On February 12, 2009, a Colgan Air, Inc., Bombardier DHC-8-400, (actually a DHC-8-402) registered N200WQ (msn 4200), operating as Continental Connection flight CO 3407, was on an instrument approach to Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, Buffalo, New York, when it crashed into a residence in Clarence Center, New York, about 5 nautical miles northeast of the airport. The 2 pilots, 2 flight attendants, and 45 passengers aboard the airplane were killed, one person on the ground was killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. The flight was a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 scheduled passenger flight from Newark, New Jersey. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
The report states that, when the stick shaker activated to warn the flight crew of an impending aerodynamic stall, the captain should have responded correctly to the situation by pushing forward on the control column. However, the captain inappropriately pulled aft on the control column and placed the airplane into an accelerated aerodynamic stall.
Contributing to the cause of the accident were the Crewmembers’ failure to recognize the position of the low-speed cue on their flight displays, which indicated that the stick shaker was about to activate, and their failure to adhere to sterile cockpit procedures. Other contributing factors were the captain’s failure to effectively manage the flight and Colgan Air’s inadequate procedures for airspeed selection and management during approaches in icing conditions.”
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. N200WQ is pictured on approach to Washington (Reagan National) before the tragic accident.