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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 199657
Last updated: 21 October 2019
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Date:21-FEB-1994
Time:17:50 EST
Type:Silhouette image of generic PAY2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-31T Cheyenne II
Owner/operator:Eastern Air Center Inc
Registration: N777JM
C/n / msn: 31T-7820064
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Norwood Memorial Airport, Norwood, Massachusetts -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Nature:Ambulance
Departure airport:Bangor International Airport, Bangor, Maine (BGR/KBGR)
Destination airport:Norwood Memorial Airport, Norwood, Massachusetts (OWD/KOWD)
Narrative:
On February 21, 1994, about 17:50 hours eastern standard time (EST), N777JM, a Piper PA-31T, being operated by Eastern Air Charter, Inc., Norwood, Massachusetts, struck a snowbank during landing at the Norwood Memorial Airport, Norwood, Maine, and was substantially damaged. The captain, first officer, and two of the three passengers were not injured. The third passenger received minor injuries. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and a instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The on-demand, air taxi lifeguard flight departed from Bangor, Maine, at 16:37 hours EST and was conducted under 14 CFR 135.

According to a medical doctor on board the flight, the purpose of the flight was to provide immediate ambulatory transportation of an infant who was in respiratory distress at the Eastern Maine Medical Center, Bangor, Maine. It was requested that the infant be flown to Norwood and then transported via ground transportation to the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

The medical doctor, who was working at the Massachusetts General Hospital at the time, was told to contact an air ambulance service at the Norwood Memorial Airport to arrange for transport. The doctor and a nurse later arrived at the airport and were met by the pilot-in-command (PIC) and second-in-command (SIC). The four occupants boarded the airplane and departed for Bangor about 13:30 hours EST.

The flight arrived in Bangor about 14:30 hours EST. About 16:30 hours EST, the infant was placed in an airborne isolette and secured in the aircraft. The medical doctor stated that he asked the PIC about the weather conditions for the flight back to Norwood, and the PIC responded that there were "clear skies from Bangor to Boston" and a "little" fog around the Boston area, but that it was be safe to proceed.

The flight crew stated that they received a weather briefing from the Bangor Flight Service Station (FSS) prior to the accident flight to Norwood. The FAA did not provide evidence of a weather briefing from the Bangor FSS; however, the Bridgeport Automated FSS reported that the flight crew had obtained a weather briefing for the previous flight from Norwood to Bangor at 12:55 hours EST.

At 16:33 hours EST, an IFR clearance was requested by the flight crew through the Bangor Air Traffic Control Tower. A clearance from Bangor to Norwood was granted. At 16:37 hours EST, the flight was cleared for takeoff.

At 16:50 hours EST, an individual using the same call sign at the accident airplane called the Bridgeport Automated FSS from a telephone line in Norwood and requested a weather briefing for the Boston area. The individual identified himself; the name did not match either of the names for the flight crew of the accident flight.

According to the FAA Report of Aircraft Accident, at 17:36 hours EST, N777JM was advised by Boston Approach Control to expect the Localizer Runway 35 approach at Norwood. N777JM advised that they had the current Norwood Automated Terminal Information Service (ATIS) at that time. The ATIS reported an estimated ceiling of 4,000 feet overcast and a visibility of one mile with light rain and fog.

At 17:37 hours EST, Boston Approach Control advised N777JM that the visibility at Norwood had decreased to 1/8 mile with light rain and fog. N777JM acknowledged. The airplane was 15 miles form Norwood at the time. At 17:38 hours EST, Boston Approach Control again advised N777JM of the latest weather information at Norwood. This information included a visibility of 1/8 mile with light rain and fog and a partially obscured sky. N777JM acknowledged.

At 17:42 hours EST, Boston Approach Control cleared N777JM for the Localizer Runway 35 approach. The airplane was 6 miles from the final approach fix at this time. At 17:44 hours EST, Boston Approach Control instructed N777JM to change radio frequencies to the Norwood Air Traffic Control Tower. At 17:46 hours EST, N777JM reported over the final approach fix; Norwood Tower cleared the airplane to land.

The flight crew was advised prior to initiating the approach that visibility at the airport had decreased to 1/8 mile with light rain, fog and obscuration. The published landing visibility minimum for the approach was 1 mile. The 150-foot wide runway had been ploughed 100 foot wide, and there were snow banks up to 3 feet high on both sides.

The aircraft touched down on the unploughed portion of the runway onto a snow bank, collapsing the undercarriage. The flight crew stated that the approach lights and runway were in sight during the entire approach and that the second pilot told the captain that he was too far left and needed to correct to the right as the aircraft was about to touchdown. The tower controller stated that he lost sight of the aircraft as it landed due to fog.

The NTSB determined the probable cause to be: The pilot's failure to attain alignment with the centreline of the runway and his failure to execute a missed approach. Factors which contributed to the accident were: the dark night, the pilot's improper decision to initiate the approach in below-minimum weather conditions, the adverse weather, and the snow covered runway.

Registration N777JM cancelled by the FA on May 20, 1994

Sources:

1. NTSB Identification: BFO94LA045 at https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief2.aspx?ev_id=20001206X00711&ntsbno=BFO94LA045&akey=1
2. FAA: http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?omni=Home-N-Number&nNumberTxt=777JM
3. http://www.ascendworldwide.com/download/Cust/WAAS167_Complete.pdf


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
13-Sep-2017 16:08 Dr. John Smith Added

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