World Aviation Wiki
Advertisement

Introduction

Template:Plane Crash InfoboxUSAir flight 1016 was a regularly scheduled flight between Columbia, South Carolina and Charlotte-Douglas, North Carolina.

On 2 July 1994, the flight encountered microburst-induced wind shear as a byproduct of the heavy thunderstorms near Charlotte. While attempting to land, the aircraft crashed into trees and private residence near the airport. The crash resulted in 37 fatalities and 16 serious injuries. Four were left with minor injuries.

USAir Flight 1016

On Saturday, 2 July 1994, N954VJ departed Columbia Metropolitan Airport at 18:15 EDT. Onboard was Captain Mike Greenlee (38) and F/O Phil Hayes (41). Three flight attendants and 52 passengers were also on board.

At 18:38, Flight 1016 was cleared to Charlotte approach for an ILS landing for runway 18R (now 18C).

The aircraft was flown by F/O Hayes. The flight switched frequencies to the tower frequency, where Captain Greenlee asked tower how the weather was. The tower told the Fokker 100 pilot before reported smooth sailing.

At 18:40 EDT, the tower controller issued a wind shear warning to all aircraft. However, the frequency used to transmit that warning was not the same one as used by Flight 1016.

Around 18:41 EDT, as USAir 1016 was on final approach, Captain Greenlee told F/O Hayes to 'take it around, go to the right'. Captain Greenlee then radioed the tower and stated 'USAir 1016's on the go'. The tower acknowledged the missed approach and cleared Flight 1016 to 3,000ft (FL30).

However, the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31 struggled to climb and started to descend. The flight crew attempted to control the aircraft as it struck the ground.

Later investigations determined the wind shear alert system did not alert the pilots. Honeywell eventually stated the wind shear alert should have alerted the pilots 8-9 seconds before the impact.

At 18:42 EDT, the DC-9-31 crashed into a field about 800 metres (about 2,640ft) from the threshold of what is now 18C.

The plane crashed through the airport fence and impacted several trees. The aircraft eventually broke into four main sections.

37 of the 52 passengers died due to blunt force trauma, burns from the fire or CO inhalation.

14 passengers suffered serious injuries, one had minor injuries.

Both pilots suffered minor injuries as well, two flight attendants were seriously injured and the remaining flight attendant sustained minor injuries. No on-ground injuries were reported.

Investigation

The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) launched a response. After an investigation, the NTSB listed the contributing factors as:

  • The flight crew's decision to continue to approach an area where a microburst was likely
  • The failure of the flight crew to recognise wind shear
  • The failure of the flight crew to establish proper pitch-up and engine power that would have brought them out of the windshear conditions
  • The lack of timely weather information by ATC to the crew of USAir 1016.
Advertisement