ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31 N964VJ Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Wednesday 13 June 1984
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC93 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31
Registration: N964VJ
MSN: 47373/522
First flight: 1969
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-7B
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 51
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 56
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW) (   United States of America)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Hartford-Brainard Airport, CT (HFD/KHFD), United States of America
Destination airport:Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW/KDTW), United States of America
A McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31 operated by USAir, suffered a landing accident at Detroit-Metropolitan Airport, MI.
During arrival, the aircrew noted thunderstorms west & southwest of the airport. The crew elected to continue and make an ILS approach. At 16:36, a special weather observation had thunderstorm info, but was not noted. At 16:50, the visibility dropped to 1/4 mi with heavy rain and hail. As the aircraft approached runway 21R, a VIP Level 4 thunderstorm moved from west to east over the northern part of the airport. The controller provided wind info from the low level wind shear alert system (LLWAS), but used improper phraseology and failed to provide RVR information when the visibility went below 1 mile. The crew had difficulty in understanding the LLWAS info due to the amount and rapidity that it was provided. At approx 350 feet agl, the aircraft encountered low clouds, heavy rain, hail and turbulence. The aircrew initiated a missed approach. The speed increased to 143 kts, then decreased to approx 119 kts. The captain believed the aircraft would not climb and elected to land. The aircraft touched down about 2500 feet down the runway with the gear partially extended, then slid 3800 feet and went off the runway. The wind was gusting to 32 kts.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause: "Inadequate cockpit coordination and management which resulted in the captain's inappropriate decision to continue the instrument approach into known thunderstorm activity where the airplane encountered severe wind shear. The failure of air traffic control personnel at the airport to provide additional available weather information deprived the flightcrew of information which may have enhanced their decisionmaking process."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 265 days (9 months)
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-85/01
Download report: Final report


Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 2 Safety Recommendations

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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 Hartford-Brainard Airport, CT to Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI as the crow flies is 880 km (550 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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