Incident description
Last updated: 16 April 2014
Date:Monday 2 January 2006
Type:Silhouette image of generic SF34 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Saab 340B
Operator:American Eagle Airlines
Registration: N390AE
C/n / msn: 340B-390
First flight: 1996
Total airframe hrs:17291
Engines: 2 General Electric CT7-9B
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 25
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 28
Airplane damage: None
Location:over Santa Maria, CA (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:San Luis Obispo-County Airport, CA (SBP/KSBP), United States of America
Destination airport:Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX), United States of America
American Eagle flight 3008 originated from San Luis Obispo (SBP) at 14:14. During the en route climb the Saab 340 encountered icing conditions.
The airplane was at 11,500 feet mean sea level (msl), departed controlled flight, and descended to an altitude of about 6,500 feet msl. The pilots recovered control of the airplane and continued to their scheduled destination of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), where they landed at 15:40 without further incident.
Information from the flight data recorder (FDR) showed that the upset began at 130 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) and before the stall warning activated. The airplane initially rolled to 86 degrees left wing down after the autopilot disconnected. The airplane then rolled right to a maximum value of 140 degrees right wing down while the airplane pitched to 48 degrees nose down. The airplane then rolled back to the left then back to the right. The pilots reported that the airplane vibrated again but less violently than the first episode. The captain leveled the wings and began pulling up on the control yoke. At this point, he instructed the first officer to manually operate the deice boots. The captain stated that he pushed the condition levers (rpm) to the maximum position and brought the power levers to idle. The captain reported that the airplane stabilized in roll, and that he could hear chunks of ice shedding off and hitting the fuselage. FDR data indicated that the loss of control lasted about 50 seconds. The captain stated that he kept the airplane in a nose-down attitude, maintaining a 500 feet per minute rate of descent.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "An in-flight loss of control due to ice accreted in supercooled liquid droplets (SLD) conditions, and the flight crew's failure to maintain the specified minimum airspeed in icing conditions. Contributing to the accident was the flight crew's decision to climb the airplane in known and forecast icing conditions using an autopilot mode contrary to that specified in the operator's Airplane Operations Manual for climbs during periods of ice accretion or when ice was present on the airframe."



Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 4 Safety Recommendations

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations


photo of Saab 340B N390AE
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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 San Luis Obispo-County Airport, CA to Los Angeles International Airport, CA as the crow flies is 248 km (155 miles).

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