Colgan Air 3407 crash update number 2: upset severe

Posted on 15. Feb, 2009 by in Featured

The crew had prepared for icing by activating de-ice and speed reference switches, the speed switch automatically increased the approach speeds by 20 knots. The auto pilot was on, since the ice was not reported as severe it was permissible.

At a speed of 134 calibrated knots, the gear was selected down and flap handle positioned to 15 degrees. As the flaps reached 10 degrees (20 seconds later) the upset occurred. The stick shaker and pusher activated (the auto pilot would disengage with the pusher activation) nose pitches in excess of 30 degrees up and down coupled with rolls from 36 degrees left to 105 (slightly inverted) degrees right occurred. Full thrust was initiated at the beginning of the event.

The aircraft plummeted but showed a speed of only 100 knots as it rotated through 035 degrees of heading. The steep rate of descent, slow speed and sudden heading change indicate a spin.

There was no evidence of split flaps. The initial pitch change was up; this doesn’t fit the NASA profile. Especially considering the pusher activated, assuming it activated in the correct direction. A possible explanation would be if the crew countered the pusher in accordance with the NASA procedures and caused an accelerated stall with subsequent departure and spin. It will be some time before the analysis of this tragic event is complete.

No Responses to “Colgan Air 3407 crash update number 2: upset severe”

  1. Rick 19 February 2009 at 06:58 #

    Now we’re reading control input by the pilot after the auto-pilot shut off may have been the last sequence that led to the stall. Have you read that?

  2. chip 19 February 2009 at 15:43 #

    I’ve been on the road a couple days, currently in SAT. It is clear to me know what happened. I posted it as a possible explanation, recent info leads me to believe it is true. IMO the crew mistook the stick pusher for a tail stall and yanked back the yoke. This caused a departure and subsequent flat spin. I will detail it in a later article.

  3. Rick 20 February 2009 at 09:12 #

    Well I used to live in SAT and love that town. Enjoy. I agree with your latest post. I am also reading Colgan is being critisized for not doing simulator training on the stick pusher. If that’s true, I’m sure there will be legal consequences.

  4. Chip 20 February 2009 at 10:51 #

    i agree there are always legal consequences in todays world. the latest legal trick is to go after the crews estates. Punishing not the dead pilot but his family; always frivilous and dismissed it torures the family for years. Not to mention the financial hardship. It is just another reason why many of the best and brightest are NOT considering the airlines. Had a nice dinner in SAT with another Naval Aviator, it is a fun town. when I was based at NAS Kingsville we loved to go to SAT for a weekend.

  5. Rick 20 February 2009 at 17:01 #

    Chip, If you have time try to get to Boerne or Fredricksburg. Both very historical and many galleries etc. People hang out around the Alamo and don’t see the rest of that great area.

  6. Chip 20 February 2009 at 17:51 #

    We always planned on going to the hill country just never made it. We did do the Alamo; funny story. My second son was about 3-4, he was pumped up to see the Alamo and where Davy (his name) Crockett died. So we toured the alamo and went to the spot in the court yard marked with the small plaque, where he was killed. We were standing there when he tugged my pants, I leaned down to hear him.
    “Where is he?”
    “Who Davy?”
    “Davy Crocket!”
    Laura and I laughed and laughed, our Davy wanted a body or at least some bones.

    We toured it again summer before last when he graduated from boot camp. I couldn’t help but laugh again.

  7. Rick 21 February 2009 at 08:28 #

    I learned to fly out of K5C1 Boerne Stage Field. It used to be 3000 x 40 ft. Now it’s around 4300 x 60 ft. It was like landing on a pencil. Too bad you don’t have time to see some of the Hill Country. It’s beautiful out there. Have a good weekend.

  8. Chip 21 February 2009 at 09:22 #

    I will have a good weekend it’s Mardi Gras’! Snowed last night tho, I think I’ll skip the parade. I used to fly out of Weis Field, also 3,000 feet or so. A great little place, unfortunately it was lost in the flood of 91.

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