NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on FedEx Plane Crash at LPSIA - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/4/09

NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on FedEx Plane Crash at LPSIA

NTSB Identification: CEN09MA142
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of Empire Airlines
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 27, 2009 in Lubbock, TX
Aircraft: AEROSPATIALE ALENIA ATR 42-320, registration: N902FX
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On January 27, 2009, approximately 0437 central standard time, N902FX, an Aerospatiale Alenia ATR-42-320, operating as Empire Airlines flight 8284, sustained substantial damage when it landed short of the runway threshold while executing the Instrument Landing System (ILS) RWY 17R approach at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (LBB), Lubbock, Texas. The airplane was registered to Federal Express Corporation, Memphis, Tennessee, and operated by Empire Airlines, Hayden, Idaho. The airline transport pilot rated captain was seriously injured and the commercial rated first officer sustained minor injuries. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Fort Worth Alliance Airport (AFW), Fort Worth, Texas, approximately 0319. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the supplemental cargo flight operated under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121.

A preliminary review of air traffic control communications revealed that the captain contacted the Lubbock Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) at 0422, and reported that they were descending from an altitude of 10,000 feet down to 8,000 feet mean sea level (msl). A controller acknowledged the transmission and then provided the airport's current weather information and a runway breaking-action advisory. In addition, he provided vectors for the ILS 17R approach.

At 0430, the controller instructed the airplane to descend and maintain an altitude of 5,000 feet msl. At 0432, the controller informed the flight crew that the wind had shifted 180 degrees from the north to the south between 5,000 and 6,000 feet msl. The captain responded and added that he also noted a drop in the outside air temperature of 8 degrees and concurred with the controller's observation regarding the wind shift. The controller cleared the airplane for the ILS approach at 0433 and instructed the flight crew to contact Lubbock Control Tower. The captain acknowledged.

At 0434, the captain contacted the control tower and a controller cleared the airplane to land on runway 17R. The captain acknowledged the landing clearance and there were no further communications. Approximately three minutes later an airport maintenance employee contacted the tower and asked "what is that fire there at the end of the runway?" A controller responded, "it's an airplane." The controller had witnessed the accident and had activated the alarm for the airport rescue and fire fighting equipment to respond.

An on-scene examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane landed short of the runway threshold and collided with the approach lighting system before it skidded off the right side of the runway into the grass. The airplane came to rest on a westerly heading perpendicular to the runway. A post-impact fire consumed a large portion of the fuselage and the right wing.

At 0415, the special weather report at LBB included wind from 350 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 2 miles, light freezing drizzle, mist, ceiling 500 feet overcast, temperature 46 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 48 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure setting of 30.02 inches of Mercury.

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