ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas MD-88 N924DL Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Tuesday 12 December 2017
Type:Silhouette image of generic MD88 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas MD-88
Operator:Delta Air Lines
Registration: N924DL
MSN: 49711/1492
First flight: 1988
Total airframe hrs:74998
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 56
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 61
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW) (   United States of America)
Phase: Standing (STD)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW/KDTW), United States of America
Destination airport:Raleigh/Durham International Airport, NC (RDU/KRDU), United States of America
Delta Air Lines flight 2421, a McDonnell Douglas MD-88, after being pushed back from the gate, with the towbar still connected, was substantially damaged after the airplane moved forward after engine start and struck the tug at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan, USA. There were no injuries to the 61 passengers and crew onboard.

During pushback, the tug driver informed the flight crew they were cleared to start. After the left engine was started, the airplane started to unexpectedly move forward. Both flight crew members were focused inside the cockpit, running checklists, when the tug driver asked if the brake was set on the airplane. The captain responded "no" and the first officer then noticed the position of the tug and told the captain that they needed to stop the airplane. The airplane struck the tug before stopping. After the airplane's brake was set, the flight crew noticed that the engine throttles were not at idle as expected. Ground conditions were reported as slippery. The tug struck the right forward lower fuselage causing damage to the pressure vessel (skin, stringers, and frames).

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause: Failure of the flight crew to confirm the left engine throttle lever was at idle during engine start.

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 7 months
Accident number: DCA18CA042
Download report: Summary report

Collision with airport equipment
Damaged on the ground


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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 Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI to Raleigh/Durham International Airport, NC as the crow flies is 801 km (501 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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