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Accident description
Last updated: 14 December 2017
Status:Final
Date:Monday 19 March 2001
Time:18:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic E120 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Embraer EMB-120RT Brasilia
Operated by:Comair
On behalf of:Delta Connection
Registration: N266CA
C/n / msn: 120258
First flight: 1992
Total airframe hrs:22154
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW118
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 25
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 27
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:near West Palm Beach, FL (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Nassau International Airport (NAS/MYNN), Bahamas
Destination airport:Orlando International Airport, FL (MCO/KMCO), United States of America
Flightnumber:5054
Narrative:
The aircraft was 46 minutes into a scheduled flight from Nassau, Bahamas, to Orlando, Florida. The airplane was being controlled by the autopilot at about 18,000 feet when they encountered instrument meteorological conditions that rapidly led to the windscreen being covered by a layer of ice. The crew turned ice protection systems on and the ice on the windshield was cleared. The first officer observed ice on the right wing's boots and the right prop's spinner that extended farther back than he had previously experienced. The first officer then switched the ice protection systems to their highest settings. De airspeed then decreased from 1750 to 160 kts.The captain disconnected the autopilot, applied power, and initiated nose down pitch inputs to arrest the airspeed loss. They indicated that these actions were unsuccessful and the speed further deteriorated to about 130 knots at which point the airplane rolled about 90 degrees to the left, and then back to near level. In the next 24 seconds, the airplane again rolled about 110 degrees to the left, back to level, then about 120 degrees to the right, back to level, and then rolled 360 degrees to the right, back to near wings level. Since the crew reported trouble with the flight attitude instruments, the roll angles recorded on the FDR are being further investigated. The maximum nose down pitch attitude was 60 degrees, the maximum recorded airspeed was about 240 kias, and maximum vertical acceleration during recovery was about +3.6 g. The crew immediately diverted to West Palm Beach and landed there 12 minutes after the upset.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of the flight crew to maintain airspeed during an encounter with severe icing conditions, which resulted in an inadvertent stall, loss of control, and structural damage to the airplane."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 9 months
Accident number: DCA01MA031
Download report: Summary report

Sources:
» ALPA Submission to the NTSB on Comair Flight 5054


Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 2 Safety Recommendations

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations

Photos

photo of Embraer 120RT Brasilia N266CA
Fractured stabilizer rib just under the counter balance
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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 Nassau International Airport to Orlando International Airport, FL as the crow flies is 533 km (333 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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