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Accident description
Last updated: 24 August 2017
Status:Final
Date:Wednesday 10 July 1991
Time:18:12
Type:Silhouette image of generic BE99 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft C99 Commuter
Operator:L'Express Airlines
Registration: N7217L
C/n / msn: U-226
First flight: 1984
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-36
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 13
Total:Fatalities: 13 / Occupants: 15
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:11 km (6.9 mls) SW of Birmingham Airport, AL (BHM) (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Mobile Municipal Airport, AL (MOB/KMOB), United States of America
Destination airport:Birmingham Airport, AL (BHM/KBHM), United States of America
Flightnumber: 508
Narrative:
The Beechcraft took off from Mobile at 17:05 for the last leg of the New Orleans-Mobile-Birmingham flight. Weather was bad around the Birmingham airport as flight 508 approached. Three aircraft had diverted to another airport, a Piper Aerostar had landed prior to the accident, a Gates LearJet after the accident. The weather reported to the crew at 18:05 was 1100 feet overcast, 2,5 miles visibility, thunderstorm and rainshower wind 340/12 kts.
An upset occurred as the flight entered an area of thunderstorm activity. The aircraft rolled left and pitched up as the aircraft approached level flight with approx. 30deg of left bank. The aircraft then entered a stall (or a prestall buffet) and started to descend. The descent couldn't be arrested and the aircraft crashed into a residential area, destroying two homes and two automobiles.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The decision of the captain to initiate and continue an instrument approach into clearly identified thunderstorm activity, thunderstorm activity, resulting in a loss of control of the airplane from which the flight crew was unable to recover and subsequent collision with obstacles and the terrain."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 237 days (8 months)
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-92-01
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Thunderstorm
Loss of control

Sources:
» CNN
» NTSB Safety Recommendations A-92-18 through -20
» NTSB/AAR-92/01
» Scramble Vol.13, nr.05


Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 3 Safety Recommendations

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations

Photos

photo of Beechcraft C99 N7217L
N7217L was bought by L'Express in June 1991
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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 Mobile Municipal Airport, AL to Birmingham Airport, AL as the crow flies is 346 km (217 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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