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Accident description
Last updated: 10 December 2017
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 27 January 2009
Time:04:37
Type:Silhouette image of generic AT43 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
ATR 42-320
Operating for:Empire Airlines
Leased from:FedEx
Registration: N902FX
C/n / msn: 175
First flight: 1990
Total airframe hrs:28768
Cycles:32379
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW121
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, TX (LBB) (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 1000 m (3281 feet) amsl
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:Fort Worth Alliance Airport, TX (AFW/KAFW), United States of America
Destination airport:Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, TX (LBB/KLBB), United States of America
Flightnumber:8284
Narrative:
Empire Airlines flight CFS8284 departed Fort Worth Alliance Airport, TX (AFW) at 03:21 CST on a cargo flight to Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, TX (LBB). Weather at Lubbock was poor with an overcast at 500 feet, freezing drizzle and mist.
The aircraft encountered icing conditions while en route to Lubbock. And although the airplane accumulated some ice during the flight that degraded its performance, the NTSB determined that the aircraft could have landed safely had the airspeed been maintained.
During the approach to Lubbock runway 17R, at about 1400 feet above the ground and about 90 seconds from the runway, the captain indicated a flight control problem saying, "We have no flaps." Although the crewmembers had been trained to perform a go-around and refer to a checklist if a flap problem occurred during an approach, the captain chose to continue the approach as he attempted to troubleshoot the flap anomaly while the first officer flew the plane. Neither flight crewmember adequately monitored the airspeed, which decayed to the extent that the stick shaker activated, which warned of an impending aerodynamic stall.
The captain continued the unstabilized approach even though he received additional stick shaker activations and an aural "pull up" warning from the terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS). At that point, the plane was descending at a rate of over 2,000 ft per minute.
Although procedures for responding to either the stick shaker or the TAWS warning require the immediate application of maximum engine power, the captain did not apply maximum power until 17 seconds after the TAWS warning. Seconds after maximum power was applied, the airplane entered an aerodynamic stall and crashed.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the flight crew's failure to monitor and maintain a minimum safe airspeed while executing an instrument approach in icing conditions, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall at low altitude. Contributing to the accident were 1) the flight crew's failure to follow published standard operating procedures in response to a flap anomaly, 2) the captain's decision to continue with the unstabilized approach, 3) the flight crew's poor crew resource management, and 4) fatigue due to the time of day in which the accident occurred and a cumulative sleep debt, which likely impaired the captain's performance."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 3 months
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-11-02
Download report: Final report

Classification:

Loss of control

Sources:
» SKYbrary 
» NTSB

METAR Weather report:
09:53 UTC / 03:53 local time:
KLBB 270953Z 01014KT 3SM -FZDZ BR OVC005 M08/M09 A3013 RMK AO2 PRESRR SLP227 P0000 T10781094=
wind at 10 degrees, 14 kts, visibility 3 miles in mist and freezing drizzle, ceiling 500 feet overcast, temperature -7.8 deg C, dewpoint -9.4 deg C

10:53 UTC / 04:53 local time:
KLBB 271053Z 02011G18KT 2SM -FZDZ BR OVC005 M08/M09 A3013 RMK AO2 CIG 004V009 SLP228 P0000 T10781094=
wind at 20 degrees, 11 kts gusting to 18 kts, visibility 2 miles in mist and freezing drizzle, ceiling 500 feet overcast, temperature -7.8 deg C, dewpoint -9.4 deg C


Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 13 Safety Recommendations

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations

Photos

photo of ATR-42-320 N902FX
photo of ATR-42-320 N902FX
photo of ATR-42-320 N902FX
photo of ATR-42-320 N902FX
photo of ATR-42-320 N902FX
photo of ATR-42-320 N902FX
photo of ATR-42-320 N15827
N15827 was converted to cargo plane and bought by FedEx as N902FX in May 2003
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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 Fort Worth Alliance Airport, TX to Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, TX as the crow flies is 422 km (264 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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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