20 Years ago today: On 21 May 2000 a BAe Jetstream 31 crashed near Wilkes-Barre, PA (USA) after fuel starvation, killing all 19 on board.
|Date:||Sunday 21 May 2000|
British Aerospace 3102 Jetstream 31
|Operator:||East Coast Aviation Services|
|C/n / msn:||834|
|First flight:||1988-09-14 (11 years 8 months)|
|Total airframe hrs:||13972|
|Engines:||2 Garrett TPE331-10UGR-514H|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 17|
|Total:||Fatalities: 19 / Occupants: 19|
|Aircraft fate:||Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||18 km (11.3 mls) S of Wilkes-Barre, PA ( United States of America)|
|Nature:||Int’l Non Scheduled Passenger|
|Departure airport:||Atlantic City International Airport, NJ (ACY/KACY), United States of America|
|Destination airport:||Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, PA (AVP/KAVP), United States of America|
Jetstream 31 N16EJ departed Farmingdale-Republic Airport (FRG) at 09:21 on a flight to Atlantic City International Airport (ACY), where it arrived at 09:49. The next flight was an on-demand charter flight for Caesar’s Palace Casino to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP). An IFR flight plan was filed and the flight departed at 10:30.
The pilots first contacted AVP approach controllers at 10:57 and were vectored for an ILS approach to runway 04. The flight was cleared for approach at 11:02:07, and the approach controller advised the pilots that they were 5 nautical miles (nm) from Crystal Lake, which is the initial approach fix (IAF) for the ILS approach to runway 04. The pilots were told to maintain 4,000 feet until established on the localizer. At 11:04:16, the approach controller advised that a previous landing aircraft picked up the airport at minimums [decision altitude]. The pilots were instructed to contact the AVP local (tower) controller at 11:05:09, which they did 3 seconds later. The airplane then descended to about 2,200 feet, flew level at 2,200 feet for about 20 seconds, and began to climb again about 2.2 nm from the runway threshold when a missed approach was executed. At 11:07:26 the captain reported executing the missed approach but provided no explanation to air traffic controllers. The tower controller informed the North Radar approach controllers of the missed approach and then instructed the accident flight crew to fly runway heading, climb to 4,000 feet, and contact approach control. The pilots re-established contact with the approach controllers at 11:08:04 as they climbed through 3,500 feet to 4,000 feet and requested another ILS approach to runway 04. The flight was vectored for another ILS approach, and at 11:10:07 the approach controller advised the pilots of traffic 2 nm miles away at 5,000 feet. The captain responded that they were in the clouds. At 11:14:38, the controller directed the pilots to reduce speed to follow a Cessna 172 on approach to the airport, and the captain responded, “ok we’re slowing.” The flight was cleared for a second approach at 11:20:45 and advised to maintain 4,000 feet until the airplane was established on the localizer. At 11:23:49 the captain transmitted, “for uh one six echo juliet we’d like to declare an emergency.” At 11:23:53, the approach controller asked the nature of the problem, and the captain responded, “engine failure.” The approach controller acknowledged the information, informed the pilots that the airplane appeared to be south of the localizer (off course to the right), and asked if they wanted a vector back to the localizer course. The flight crew accepted, and at 11:24:10 the controller directed a left turn to heading 010, which the captain acknowledged. At 11:24:33, the controller asked for verification that the airplane was turning left. The captain responded, “we’re trying six echo juliet.” At 11:24:38, the controller asked if a right turn would be better. The captain asked the controller to “stand by.” At 11:25:07, the controller advised the pilots that the minimum vectoring altitude (MVA) in the area was 3,300 feet. At 11:25:12, the captain transmitted, “standby for six echo juliet tell them we lost both engines for six echo juliet.” At that time, ATC radar data indicated that the airplane was descending through 3,000 feet. The controller immediately issued the weather conditions in the vicinity of the airport and informed the flight crew about the location of nearby highways. At 11:26:17, the captain asked, “how’s the altitude look for where we’re at.” The controller responded that he was not showing an altitude readout from the airplane and issued the visibility (2.5 miles) and altimeter setting. At 11:26:43, the captain transmitted, “just give us a vector back to the airport please.” The controller cleared the accident flight to fly heading 340, advised the flight crew that radar contact was lost, and asked the pilots to verify their altitude. The captain responded that they were “level at 2,000.” At 11:26:54, the controller again advised the flight crew of the 3,300-foot MVA and suggested a 330° heading to bring the airplane back to the localizer. At 11:27:14 the controller asked, “do you have any engines,” and the captain responded that they appeared to have gotten back “the left engine now.” At 11:27:23, the controller informed the pilots that he saw them on radar at 2,000 feet and that there was a ridgeline between them and the airport. The captain responded, “that’s us” and “we’re at 2,000 feet over the trees.” The controller instructed the pilots to fly a 360° heading and advised them of high antennas about 2 nm west of their position. At 11:27:46, the captain transmitted, “we’re losing both engines.” Two seconds later the controller advised that the Pennsylvania Turnpike was right below the airplane and instructed the flight crew to “let me know if you can get your engines back.” There was no further radio contact with the accident airplane. The Jetstream contact trees and impacted terrain at a steep angle and in an extreme bank angle.
PROBABLE CAUSE: “The flight crew’s failure to ensure an adequate fuel supply for the flight, which led to the stoppage of the right engine due to fuel exhaustion and the intermittent stoppage of the left engine due to fuel starvation. Contributing to the accident were the flight crew’s failure to monitor the airplane’s fuel state and the flight crew’s failure to maintain directional control after the initial engine stoppage.