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Accident description
Last updated: 22 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Monday 23 September 1985
Time:10:20
Type:Silhouette image of generic BE99 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft B99 Airliner
Operator:Henson Airlines
Registration: N339HA
C/n / msn: U-156
First flight: 1974
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12
Total:Fatalities: 14 / Occupants: 14
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:11 km (6.9 mls) ESE of Staunton-Shenandoah Valley Airport, VA (SHD) (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 732 m (2402 feet) amsl
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Baltimore/Washington International Airport, MD (BWI/KBWI), United States of America
Destination airport:Staunton-Shenandoah Valley Airport, VA (SHD/KSHD), United States of America
Flightnumber:1517
Narrative:
The crew, cleared for a runway 04 ILS approach, became uncertain of their position. The aircraft struck the southwest face of Hall Mountain at an elevation of 2,400 feet.
Radio equipment installed on the aircraft was non standard (and non FAA approved). The ADF and 2 NAV displays were in an unsuitable location for the first-officer.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE:
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was a navigational error by the flightcrew resulting from their use of the incorrect navigational facility and their failure to adequately monitor the flight instruments.
Factors which contributed to the flightcrew's errors were:
- the nonstandardized navigational radio systems installed in the airline's Beech 99 fleet;
- intracockpit corhmunications difficulties associated with high ambient noise levels in the airplane;
- inadequate training of the pilots by the airline;
- the first officer's limited multiengine and instrument flying experience;
- the pilots' limited experience in their positions in the Beech 99;
- and stress-inducing events in the lives of the pilots.
Also contributing to the accident was the inadequate surveillance of the airline by the Federal Aviation Administration which failed to detect the deficiencies which led to the accident.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-86-07
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Flightcrew un(der)qualified

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» Lloyds List
» NTSB
» NTSB Safety Recommendations A-86-98 through -118


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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 Baltimore/Washington International Airport, MD to Staunton-Shenandoah Valley Airport, VA as the crow flies is 217 km (135 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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Beech 99

  • 239 built
  • 24th loss
  • 14th fatal accident
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 4th worst accident (currently)
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