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Last updated: 13 November 2018
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 12 June 1980
Time:15:46
Type:Silhouette image of generic SW4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Swearingen SA226-TC Metro II
Operator:Air Wisconsin
Registration: N650S
C/n / msn: TC-228
First flight: 1976
Total airframe hrs:8055
Engines: 2 Garrett TPE331-3VW-303G
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 11 / Occupants: 13
Total:Fatalities: 13 / Occupants: 15
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:ca 5 km N of Valley, NE (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, MN (MSP/KMSP), United States of America
Destination airport:Lincoln Municipal Airport, NE (LNK/KLNK), United States of America
Flightnumber: 965
Narrative:
Air Wisconsin Flight 965 departed Appleton, WI 12:45 arriving at Minneapolis at 14:02. The aircraft departed again at 14:20 for the last leg to Lincoln. Encountering moderate turbulence and moderate precipitation, the crew were cleared to leave the cruising altitude of 12,000 feet to 8,000 feet. At 15:36 Omaha Radar Approach Control cleared the flight down to 6,000 feet. Because turbulence was getting worse, and they were cleared for 4,000 and a little later to 3,000 feet.
While descending out of 6,000 feet massive water ingestion caused both engines to lose power simultaneously. Both engines were restarted, but the Metro couldn't recover and struck a muddy field in a slight nose down, right wing-down attitude. The aircraft bounced and hit the ground 288 feet further on. The plane skidded 1022 feet before coming to rest inverted.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The flight crew's continued flight into an area of severe thunderstorms, and the resultant precipitation-induced flameout or loss of power of both engines at an altitude from which recovery could not be made. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the failure of the flight crew to utilise all available sources of weather information and the failure of the air traffic control system to disseminate critical weather information to the air traffic controllers and to the crew of Flight 965, the failure of air traffic control supervisory personnel to accomplish key job functions, and the failure of Center Weather Service Unit meteorologists to disseminate critical weather information to the Omaha Radar Approach Control Facility supervisors. Also contributing was the precipitation induced X-band radar attenuation which limited tile ability of airborne weather radar to detect the extent and intensity of the weather disturbances."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 180 days (6 months)
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-80-15
Download report: Final report

Sources:
» FAA-ASF-81-4
» NTSB Safety Recommendations A-81-23
» NTSB-AAR-80-15


Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 15 Safety Recommendations

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Photos

photo of Swearingen SA226-TC Metro II N650S
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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 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, MN to Lincoln Municipal Airport, NE as the crow flies is 529 km (331 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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Metro

  • 684 built
  • 4th loss
  • The first fatal accident
  • The worst accident (at the time)
  • 4th worst accident (currently)
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