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Last updated: 1 December 2021
Date:Sunday 4 September 2011
Type:Silhouette image of generic E145 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Embraer EMB-145LR (ERJ-145LR)
Operated by:Trans States Airlines
On behalf of:United Express
Registration: N840HK
MSN: 145341
First flight: 2000
Total airframe hrs:25655
Engines: 2 Allison AE3007A1/2
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 44
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 47
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, ON (YOW) (   Canada)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL (ORD/KORD), United States of America
Destination airport:Ottawa-Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, ON (YOW/CYOW), Canada
An Embraer EMB-145LR passenger jet sustained substantial damage in a landing accident at Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, ON (YOW), Canada. There were no injuries among the three crew members and 44 passengers. The airplane was operating as United Express flight 3363 from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD).
At 15:24, the terminal air traffic controller (ATC) advised the flight crew that it was starting to rain heavily. About 2 minutes later, the aircraft intercepted the glideslope for the ILS to runway 32. Final descent was initiated, the landing gear was extended, and the flaps were selected to 22°. Upon contacting the tower controller, the flight crew was advised that moderate rain had just started at the airport and the wind was reported as 310° magnetic at 10 knots.
Later on in the approach the flaps were selected to 45°. The tower controller then advised the flight crew that the wind had changed to 320°M at 13 knots gusting to 20 knots. To compensate for the increased wind speed, the flight crew increased the VAPP to 140 KIAS.
About 1 minute later, at 15:29, the aircraft crossed the threshold of runway 32 at about 45 feet agl, at an airspeed of 139 KIAS. As the aircraft crossed the runway threshold, the intensity of the rain increased, so the flight crew selected the windshield wipers to high. When the aircraft was about 20 feet agl, engine power was reduced and a flare was commenced.
Just before touchdown, the aircraft encountered a downpour sufficient to obscure the crew’s view of the runway. Perceiving a sudden increase in descent rate, at approximately 5 feet agl, the captain applied maximum thrust on both engines. The master caution light illuminated, and a voice warning stated that the flaps were not in a takeoff configuration. Maximum thrust was maintained for 7 seconds.
The aircraft touched down smoothly 2700 feet beyond the threshold at 119 KIAS; the airspeed was increasing, and the aircraft became airborne again. The aircraft touched down a second time at 3037 feet beyond the threshold, with the airspeed increasing through 125 KIAS. Airspeed on touchdown peaked at 128 KIAS as the nosewheel was lowered to the ground, and then the thrust levers were retarded to flight idle. The outboard spoilers almost immediately deployed, and about 8 seconds later, the inboard spoilers deployed. The aircraft was about 20 feet right of the runway centreline when it touched down for the second time.
Once the nosewheel was on the ground, the captain applied maximum brakes. The flight crew almost immediately noted that the aircraft began skidding. The captain then requested the first officer to apply maximum brakes as well. The aircraft continued to skid, and no significant brake pressure was recorded until about 14 seconds after the outboard spoilers deployed, when brake pressure suddenly increased to its maximum. During this time, the captain attempted to steer the aircraft back to the runway centreline.
As the aircraft skidded down the runway, it began to yaw to the left. Full right rudder was applied, but was ineffective in correcting the left yaw.
At some point during the landing roll, the captain partially applied the emergency/parking brake (EPB), and when no braking action was felt, the EPB was engaged further. With no perceivable deceleration being felt, the EPB was stowed.
The aircraft continued to skid down the runway until about 7500 feet from the threshold, at which point it started skidding sideways along the runway.
At 15:30, the nosewheel exited the paved surface, 8120 feet from the threshold, at approximately 53 knots, on a heading of 271°M. The aircraft came to rest on a heading of 211°M, just off the left side of the paved surface. After coming to a stop, the flight crew carried out the emergency shutdown procedure as per the company Quick Reference Handbook (QRH), and consulted with the flight attendant on the status of everyone in the passenger cabin. The flight crew determined that there was no immediate threat and decided to hold the passengers on board.
When the aircraft exited the runway surface, the tower activated the crash alarm. The CYOW airport rescue and firefighting (ARFF) services responded, and were on scene approximately 3 minutes after the activation of the crash alarm. Once ARFF personnel had conducted a thorough exterior check of the aircraft, they informed the flight crew that there was a fuel leak.
The captain then called for an immediate evacuation of the aircraft. The passengers evacuated through the main cabin door, and moved to the runway as directed by the flight crew and ARFF personnel. The evacuation was initiated approximately 12 minutes after the aircraft came to a final stop.

Probable Cause:

Findings as to causes and contributing factors:

1. Heavy rainfall before and during the landing resulted in a 4-6 mm layer of water contaminating the runway.
2. The occurrence aircraft’s airspeed during final approach exceeded the company-prescribed limits for stabilized approach criteria. As a result, the aircraft crossed the runway threshold at a higher than recommended VREF airspeed.
3. A go-around was not performed, as per standard operating procedures, when the aircraft’s speed was greater than 5 knots above the appropriate approach speed during the stabilized portion of the approach.
4. The application of engine thrust just before touchdown caused the aircraft to touch down 3037 feet from the threshold at a higher than recommended airspeed.
5. The combination of a less than firm landing and underinflated tires contributed to the aircraft hydroplaning.
6. The emergency/parking brake was applied during the landing roll, which disabled the anti-skid braking system and prolonged the skid.
7. The aircraft lost directional control as a result of hydroplaning and veered off the runway.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: TSB Canada
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 7 months
Accident number: A11H0003
Download report: Final report

Runway excursion

» Passengers safe in Ottawa airport mishap (CBC News 4-9-2011)
» United Airlines plane skids off Ottawa runway (CTV 4-9-2011)
» CADORS 2011O2655


photo of Embraer-EMB-145LR-N840HK
accident date: 04-09-2011
type: Embraer EMB-145LR
registration: N840HK
photo of Embraer-EMB-145LR-N840HK
Sequence of events
photo of Embraer-EMB-145LR-HB-JAH
accident date: 04-09-2011
type: Embraer EMB-145LR
registration: HB-JAH

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 Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL to Ottawa-Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, ON as the crow flies is 1044 km (652 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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