Accident description
Last updated: 27 November 2014
Status:Final
Date:Monday 3 December 1990
Time:13:45
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC91 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-9-14
Operator:Northwest Airlines
Registration: N3313L
C/n / msn: 45708/77
First flight: 1966
Total airframe hrs:62253
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-7B
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 40
Total:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 44
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW) (   United States of America) show on map
Phase: Taxi (TXI)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW/KDTW), United States of America
Destination airport:Pittsburgh International Airport, PA (PIT/KPIT), United States of America
Flightnumber:1482
Narrative:
Northwest Airlines Flight 1482, a DC-9 bound for Pittsburgh received clearance to taxi from Gate C18 to runway 03C via taxiway Oscar 6, Foxtrot and Xray, at 13:35. In dense fog (about 1/4mile visibility) the crew missed the Oscar 6 taxiway and entered the Outer taxiway. Ground control then instructed them to head for Oscar 4 and make a right turn onto Xray. At the Oscar 4 intersection NW1482 turned right, but entered the active runway 03C instead of taxiway Xray.
Suddenly both pilots found out they had taxied the wrong way, and contacted ground control. When ground control found out that NW1482 was on the active runway, the crew were told to leave that runway immediately. About 5 seconds later the DC-9 crew saw a Boeing 727 coming right at them.
The Boeing 727 (Northwest Fight 299 to Memphis) had just received take-off clearance and was traveling at a speed of over 100 knots when the collision took place.
The 727's right wingtip was sheared off when striking the right-hand side of the DC-9. The remainder of the wing cut through the fuselage just below the bottom of the windows and cut off the no. 2 engine. A fire erupted in the DC-9 which caused the fuselage to burn out from just aft of the cockpit to just forward of the aft bulkhead. The Boeing 727 didn't catch fire but just sustained damage to the left wing .


PROBABLE CAUSE:"A lack of proper crew coordination, including a virtual reversal of roles by the DC-9 pilots, which led to their failure to stop taxiing their airplane and alert the ground controller of their positional uncertainty in a timely manner before and after intruding onto the active runway.
Contributing to the cause of the accident were (1) deficiencies in the air traffic control services provided by the Detroit tower, including failure of the ground controller to take timely action to alert the local controller to the possible runway incursion, inadequate visibility observations, failure to use progressive taxi instructions in low-visibility conditions, and issuance of inappropriate and confusing taxi instructions compounded by inadequate backup supervision for the level of experience of the staff on duty; (2) deficiencies in the surface markings, signage, and lighting at the airport and the failure of Federal Aviation Administration surveillance to detect or correct any of these deficiencies; and (3) failure of Northwest Airlines, Inc., to provide adequate cockpit resource management training to their line aircrews.
Contributing to the fatalities in the accident was the inoperability of the DC-9 internal tail cone release mechanism. Contributing to the number and severity of injuries was the failure of the crew of the DC-9 to properly execute the passenger evacuation." (NTSB)

Classification:
Runway incursion

Sources:
» ICAO Adrep 3/94 (#88)
» NTSB/AAR-91/05

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB) - United States of America
report status: Final
report number: NTSB/AAR-91-05
report released:25-JUN-1991
duration of investigation:204 days (6.8 months)
download report: NW Airlines, Inc., Flights 1482 and 299 Runway Incursion and Collision Detroit Metropolitan/Wayne County Airport Romulus, Michigan, December 3, 1990. (NTSB/AAR-91-05)
cover

Photos

photo of Douglas DC-9-14 N3313L
photo of McDonnell Douglas DC-9-14 N3313L
Republic Airlines merged into Northwest Airlines October 1, 1986
Add your photo of this accident or aircraft
 

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 Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI to Pittsburgh International Airport, PA as the crow flies is 321 km (201 miles).

languages: English Franšais Nederlands Deutsch Espanol

Share
Share

DC-9-10

  • 15th loss
  • 147 built
  • 8th worst accident (at the time)
  • 10th worst accident (currently)
safety profile

 United States of America
  • 341st worst accident (at the time)
  • 390th worst accident (currently)
»safety profile