ASN logo
Accident description
Last updated: 20 September 2017
Status:Final
Date:Sunday 3 March 1991
Time:09:44
Type:Silhouette image of generic B732 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-291
Operator:United Airlines
Registration: N999UA
C/n / msn: 22742/875
First flight: 1982-05-11 (8 years 10 months)
Total airframe hrs:26050
Cycles:19734
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17
Crew:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 20 / Occupants: 20
Total:Fatalities: 25 / Occupants: 25
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:6,4 km (4 mls) S of Colorado Springs, CO (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Denver-Stapleton International Airport, CO (DEN/KDEN), United States of America
Destination airport:Colorado Springs-Peterson Field, CO (COS/KCOS), United States of America
Flightnumber:UA585
Narrative:
United Airlines flight 585 left Peoria for Colorado Springs, with intermediate stops at Moline, IL and Denver, CO. The aircraft took off from Denver at 09:23 for the last segment of the flight, estimating Colorado Springs at 09:42. The aircraft was cleared for a visual approach to runway 35. The aircraft then suddenly rolled to the right and started to pitch nose down. The crew tried to initiate a go-around by selecting 15-deg. flaps and an increase in thrust. The altitude decreased rapidly, acceleration increased to over 4G until the aircraft struck the ground of Widefield Park almost vertically.
After a 21-month investigation, the NTSB issued a report on the crash in December 1992. In that report, the NTSB said it 'could not identify conclusive evidence to explain the loss of' the aircraft, but indicated that the two most likely explanations were a malfunction of the airplane’s directional control system or an encounter with an unusually severe atmospheric disturbance.

Investigation into a September 1994 crash of a USAir Boeing 737-300 and an loss of control incident on June 9, 1996 (Eastwind Airlines Boeing 737-200), cited a malfunction in the plane’s rudder system as the most likely cause of all three events.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "A loss of control of the airplane resulting from the movement of the rudder surface to its blowdown limit. The rudder surface most likely deflected in a direction opposite to that commanded by the pilots as a result of a jam of the main rudder power control unit servo valve secondary slide to the servo valve housing offset from its neutral position and overtravel of the primary slide."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 10 years
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-01-01
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Loss of control

Sources:
» Aviation Week & Space Technology 11.03.1991 (25-26)
» Flight International 14-21.12.1992 (34)
» NTSB Safety Recommendations A-92-57 and -58
» NTSB/AAR-92/06
» Scramble Vol.13, nr.04
» Scramble 165


Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 24 Safety Recommendations

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations

Photos

photo of Boeing 737-291 N999UA
Add your photo of this accident or aircraft
 

Video, social media

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 Denver-Stapleton International Airport, CO to Colorado Springs-Peterson Field, CO as the crow flies is 109 km (68 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.
languages: languages

Share

Boeing 737-200

  • 1114 built
  • 51st loss
  • 30th fatal accident
  • 18th worst accident (at the time)
  • 38th worst accident (currently)
» safety profile