National Transportation Safety Board
Aviation Accident Final Report

 

 

Location:

Kansas City, MO

Accident Number:

CEN11LA250

Date & Time:

03/26/2011, 0729 CDT

Registration:

N931AE

Aircraft:

EMBRAER EMB-145LR

Aircraft Damage:

None

Defining Event:

Turbulence encounter

Injuries:

1 Serious, 51 None

Flight Conducted Under:

Part 121: Air Carrier - Scheduled

Analysis

During climb to cruise flight, the flight attendant was returning to her jumpseat when the airplane encountered convectively induced turbulence associated with developing thunderstorms under the flight path. The flight attendant lost her footing and hit her head on the service galley door. While trying to find something to grab, the flight attendant fell again and injured her wrist and knee. She advised the flight crew that she would be unable to complete her duties and the flight was diverted to seek medical attention for the flight attendant. The operator subsequently confirmed that the flight attendant was seriously injured when her wrist and hand sustained fractures. The flight’s flight data recorder data showed that an upset event occurred during climb; the vertical acceleration ranged from 1.54g to 0.60g in a 1-second period.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
An in-flight encounter with convectively induced turbulence associated with developing thunderstorms under the flight path during the airplane's climb to cruise flight.

Findings

Environmental issues

Turbulence - Effect on personnel (Cause)

Factual Information

On March 26, 2011, about 0729 central daylight time, an Embraer EMB-145LR, N931AE, operated by American Eagle Airlines as flight 4355, sustained no damage when it encountered turbulence while in a climb north of Kansas City, Missouri, while en-route to the Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD), Chicago, Illinois. The 2 pilots and 49 passengers were uninjured. The flight attendant sustained a serious injury and the flight diverted to the Kansas City International Airport (MCI), near Kansas City, Missouri. The scheduled domestic passenger flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an activated instrument flight rules flight plan was on file. The flight originated about 0705, from the Will Rogers World Airport (OKC), near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The operator reported that the flight attendant had finished her cabin service and was returning to her jumpseat when the airplane encountered convectively induced turbulence associated with a developing thunderstorm under the flight path while climbing through flight level (FL) 320. The flight attendant lost her footing and hit her head on the service galley door. While trying to find something to grab the flight attendant fell again and injured her wrist and knee. Immediately the flight attendant noticed her hand swelling up. She contacted the flight crew, informed them of what had happened, and stated to the crew that she would be unable to complete her duties. The flight crew elected to divert to MCI so the flight attendant could seek immediate medical attention. The flight attendant was met by paramedics and taken to the hospital. The operator subsequently confirmed that the flight attendant was seriously injured when her wrist and hand sustained fractures.

The airplane’s flight data recorder data was reviewed. The data showed that the upset event occurred during the climb approximately 07:29:35. The data showed the vertical acceleration ranged from 1.54g to 0.60g in a 1-second period and that the airplane was climbing through FL 299.

Review of the flight's dispatch records indicated scattered to broken areas of thunderstorms extending from eastern Oklahoma to western Arkansas with tops to 42,000 feet above sea level and it advised of possible convection over eastern Oklahoma. The dispatch paperwork did not include the latest convective significant meteorological information (SIGMET) 22C for an area of severe thunderstorms, which existed in the immediate vicinity of the upset location.

 

History of Flight

Enroute-climb to cruise

Turbulence encounter (Defining event)

 

 

Pilot Information

Certificate:

Airline Transport

Age:

31, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Multi-engine Land

Seat Occupied:

Left

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

Seatbelt, Shoulder harness

Instrument Rating(s):

Airplane

Second Pilot Present:

Yes

Instructor Rating(s):

 

Toxicology Performed:

No

Medical Certification:

Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

06/08/2010

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

01/12/2011

Flight Time:

6788 hours (Total, all aircraft), 394 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

 

 

Co-Pilot Information

Certificate:

Commercial

Age:

27, Male

Airplane Rating(s):

Multi-engine Land

Seat Occupied:

Right

Other Aircraft Rating(s):

None

Restraint Used:

Seatbelt, Shoulder harness

Instrument Rating(s):

Airplane

Second Pilot Present:

Yes

Instructor Rating(s):

 

Toxicology Performed:

No

Medical Certification:

Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations

Last FAA Medical Exam:

10/12/2010

Occupational Pilot:

Yes

Last Flight Review or Equivalent:

08/12/2010

Flight Time:

2936 hours (Total, all aircraft)

 

 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:

EMBRAER

Registration:

N931AE

Model/Series:

EMB-145LR

Aircraft Category:

Airplane

Year of Manufacture:

 

Amateur Built:

No

Airworthiness Certificate:

Transport

Serial Number:

14500912

Landing Gear Type:

Retractable - Tricycle

Seats:

53

Date/Type of Last Inspection:

 Continuous Airworthiness

Certified Max Gross Wt.:

 

Time Since Last Inspection:

 

Engines:

2 Turbo Fan

Airframe Total Time:

 

Engine Manufacturer:

ROLLS-ROYC

ELT:

Installed, not activated

Engine Model/Series:

AE3007 SER

Registered Owner:

AMERICAN EAGLE AIRLINES INC

Rated Power:

7200 hp

Operator:

AMERICAN EAGLE AIRLINES INC

Operating Certificate(s) Held:

Flag carrier (121)

Operator Does Business As:

 

Operator Designator Code:

SIMA

 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:

Visual Conditions

Condition of Light:

Day

Observation Facility, Elevation:

MCI, 1026 ft msl

Distance from Accident Site:

98 Nautical Miles

Observation Time:

0701 CDT

Direction from Accident Site:

328°

Lowest Cloud Condition:

 

Visibility

9 Miles

Lowest Ceiling:

Overcast / 1500 ft agl

Visibility (RVR):

 

Wind Speed/Gusts:

14 knots /

Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:

/

Wind Direction:

70°

Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:

/

Altimeter Setting:

29.87 inches Hg

Temperature/Dew Point:

2°C / -1°C

Precipitation and Obscuration:

No Obscuration; No Precipitation

Departure Point:

Oklahoma City, OK (OKC)

Type of Flight Plan Filed:

IFR

Destination:

Chicago, IL (ORD)

Type of Clearance:

IFR

Departure Time:

0705 CDT

Type of Airspace:

 

 

Airport Information

Airport:

Kansas City IAP (MCI)

Runway Surface Type:

 

Airport Elevation:

1026 ft

Runway Surface Condition:

 

Runway Used:

N/A

IFR Approach:

Unknown

Runway Length/Width:

 

VFR Approach/Landing:

Full Stop

 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries:

1 Serious, 2 None

Aircraft Damage:

None

Passenger Injuries:

49 None

Aircraft Fire:

None

Ground Injuries:

N/A

Aircraft Explosion:

None

Total Injuries:

1 Serious, 51 None

Latitude, Longitude:

37.912500, -93.590278 (est)

 


 


Administrative Information

Investigator In Charge (IIC):

Edward F Malinowski

Report Date:

04/20/2012

Additional Participating Persons:

Vanessa Jamison; Federal Aviation Administration; Fort Worth, TX

Publish Date:

04/20/2012

Investigation Docket:

http://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/dockList.cfm?mKey=78703