ASN Aircraft accident Bombardier CRJ-200LR N202PS New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Saturday 1 December 2018
Type:Silhouette image of generic CRJ2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bombardier CRJ-200LR
Operator:PSA Airlines
Registration: N202PS
MSN: 7858
First flight: 2003
Total airframe hrs:35435
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 24
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 27
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA) (   United States of America)
Phase: Standing (STD)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA/KLGA), United States of America
Destination airport:Akron/Canton Regional Airport, OH (CAK/KCAK), United States of America
PSA Airlines flight 5541, a CRJ-200, N202PS, struck a tug during engine start at New York-LaGuardia Airport (LGA). There were no injuries to the 27 passengers and crew onboard. The airplane was substantially damaged.
According to the operator, the accident airplane had six deferred items on the dispatch release including, auxiliary power unit (APU) crossflow, power crossflow shutoff valves (SOV), and the APU. These deferred items rendered the fuel tank transfer on the ground inoperative and required the right engine to be started via an air cart. The flight crew indicated that the tug driver had to use hand signals to communicate back to them because the transmit function on his headset was inoperative. The captain indicated that he had requested to start both engines at the gate to limit fuel imbalance while on the ground, but the ground crew had denied that request.  The towing operation was initiated with only the right engine running. 
A cross-bleed start on the CRJ-200 requires a significant increase in thrust in the operative engine to allow the appropriate amount of bleed pressure to power the air turbine starter and imparts a lateral thrust imbalance on the airplane. A checklist item on the CRJ-200 Engine Start (Cross-Bleed) procedure is to set the parking brake prior to initiating a cross-bleed engine start. However, the captain initiated the cross-bleed start while still under tow after receiving clearance from the ground crew. According to the operator, the flight data indicated the was initiated with the right engine N2 first increasing to approximately 82.5%, and then to maximum N2 about 12 seconds after start was initiated. 
About ten seconds later, a lateral acceleration of 0.20 g was recorded.
The tug impacted the right side of the airplane underneath the right front galley door, after jack knifing while remaining attached to the nose gear. The airplane sustained a whole 14.5 inches by 7.5 inches and a fractured stringer.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause: The captain initiating a cross bleed start while under tow.

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 years and 3 months
Accident number: DCA19CA035
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 New York-La Guardia Airport, NY to Akron/Canton Regional Airport, OH as the crow flies is 632 km (395 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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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