Investigation Concludes Defective Propellers Caused Two EMB-120 Commercial Planes to Crash
GEORGIA - According to an online accident news story published on simpleflying.com, new developments in two Atlantic Southeast Airlines commuter airplane accident investigations have discovered a propeller defect.
In April of 1991, an Atlantic Southeast Airlines Embraer EMB-120RT Brasilia, as part of the Delta Connection, left Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). The Flight was on its way to Brunswick Golden Isles Airport (BQK) along Georgia's southeastern coast. Piloting the airplane was a very experienced pilot who was actively involved in EMB-120 development and introduction into the United States. At the moment of the accident, the pilot had almost 12,000 total flying hours and nearly 6,000 flying hours in the EMB-120.
The pilot and co-pilot of the doomed EMB-120 were making their visual approach when they encountered a sudden mechanical problem. As the airplane approached the airport, eyewitnesses on the ground stated that the plane was flying at a much lower elevation than what is typical for aircraft landing at Brunswick Golden Isles Airport. Suddenly the plane rolled left and then nose-dived into the ground, tragically killing all 23 passengers and aircrew members.
Initially, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) did not find any mechanical issues with the motors. So the agency turned its focus to the airplane's Hamilton Standard propellors. Investigators theorized that the plane's propeller system malfunctioned and caused the crash.
Four years later, another Atlantic Southeast Airlines Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia aircraft suffered a similar accident that tragically killed nine of the twenty-nine passengers and crew members. The airplane was equipped with a flight data recorder (FDR) and a cockpit voice recorder (CVR). The airplane left Atlanta, began climbing, and the plane's occupants heard a loud thud. The noise was caused by the left side propeller blades becoming detached. Although the plane can fly using one engine, the excessive drag caused the plane to lose altitude. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also blamed the plane's propellors for the crash. The NTSB concluded that metal fatigue caused the accident, and the agency criticized Hamilton Standard for not properly maintaining the propeller blades.
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