Related Accidents / Incidents

The following is a list of related accidents. It is not an exhaustive list, but includes a number of accidents with similar causes to the Birgenair accident.

Scandanavian Airlines Flight 630, 1/30/73, at Oslo-Fornebu Airport (FBU)

This McDonnell Douglas DC-9 crashed during an aborted takeoff following stall warning activation during the rotation. The investigation found that ice had accumulated in the pitot tubes giving false airspeed indications.

Northwest Airlines Flight 6231, 12/1/74, at Stoney Point, New York

This Boeing 727 accident occurred on takeoff from New York JFK airport. This accident was almost identical to the Birgenair accident except the pitot was plugged by icing instead of the suspected insect nest. In this case, like the Birgenair accident, the crew incorrectly responded to incorrect airspeed indications.

View accident report.

Florida Commuter Airlines Flight 65, 9/12/1980, Atlantic Ocean near Grand Bahama Island

This DC-3A crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while approaching the Grand Bahama Island. Although the NTSB could not definitively find a probable cause, they did cite pre-existing discrepancies in the pitot-static system. The initial takeoff was aborted when the pilot reported no airspeed was indicated. Inspections found his pitot probe blocked by a mud dauber nest, which was cleared and the flight took off without incident.

View accident report.

Air Florida Flight 90, 1/13/1982, Washington National Airport, Washington, D.C

On January 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90, a Boeing Model 737-200 series airplane, crashed shortly after takeoff from Washington National Airport, Washington, D.C. Loss of control was determined to be due to reduction in aerodynamic lift resulting from ice and snow that had accumulated on the airplane's wings during prolonged ground operation at National Airport. A major contributor to this accident was a significant engine thrust shortfall believed to be due to anomalous engine thrust indications on both engines caused by engine pressure ratio (EPR) Pt2 probes which were believed to have been plugged with snow and ice during ground operation.

View accident report.

See accident module

Panorama Flight Service, 7/28/84, Waterville-Robert Lafleur Airport, ME (WVL)

This Learjet 25B overran the end of the runway when the crew aborted the takeoff after an occurrence of stall warning during the takeoff roll. It was found the pitot covers were not removed prior to departure.

Aeroflot , 5/21/86, Approach to Moscow Airport

This Tupolev 154B experienced incorrect airspeed upon descent through rain and clouds during approach. The flight crew erroneously believed the airplane was stalling, and pushed into a severe dive. The dive was recovered with a 3.2 G pull-up, and the severely damaged airplane was landed safely. Investigators determined that pitot heat had not been turned on prior to takeoff, and the pitot tubes iced up during the descent.

Continental Airlines Flight 795, 3/2/94, New York - LaGuardia (LGA)

This McDonnell Douglas MD-82 overran the end of the runway when the crew aborted the takeoff after unusual airspeed indications during takeoff roll. The flight crew failed to activate the pitot heat prior to takeoff, leading to clogging of the pitots with ice and snow.

Aero Peru Flight 603, 10/2/96, Lima, Peru (LIM)

This Boeing 757 experienced anomalous airspeed and altitude indications following takeoff. The crew attempted to return to the airport but lost control and crashed. The investigation revealed that a maintenance crew had failed to remove tape that was covering the left side static ports that had been installed when the airplane was washed and polished prior to flight.

Turkish Airlines Flight 5904, 4/7/99, Adana, Turkey

This Boeing 737 took off into poor weather and crashed 9 minutes after takeoff. The investigation concluded that pitot heat had not been properly activated by the crew, resulting in erratic airspeed indications as the pitot iced up. The crew failed to recognize the cause of the erratic airspeed, lost control of the aircraft and did not use other cockpit indications to recover.

FedEx Flight 87, 10/17/99, Subic Bay Airport, Phillipines

This McDonnell Douglas MD-11 landed and overran the runway. The investigation revealed the aircraft experienced erroneous airspeed indications during descent and landing. The crew failed to verify and use the correct airspeed by checking the standby airspeed indicator. The investigation cited clogged pitot drain holes as a contributing factor. Inadequate checklists that did not refer the crew to use the standby airspeed indicator were also cited.

Air France 447, 6/1/2009, Central Atlantic Ocean

This Airbus A330 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean after the crew lost control of the aircraft. The investigation determined the most likely cause of the accident was loss of control due to unreliable airspeed indications. It was concluded that the pitot probes had become clogged with ice while flying through severe icing conditions. This resulted in unreliable airspeed indication which the crew misinterpreted.

View accident report.

Unkown airline, 1/28/2009, out of Accra, Ghana, Africa

The captain of this Boeing 757 noticed an anomalous airspeed indication during takeoff roll. Similar to the Birgenair accident, the captain elected to continue the takeoff. However, in this case, the captain recognized the anomalie and switched his air data source to ALTN. Following takeoff, when the autopilot began behaving erractically, the flight returned to the departure airport and landed uneventfully. Upon subsequent inspection of the aircraft, inspectors found "the remains of a beetle-like creature in the left pitot system."

View incident report.

Etihad Airways, 11/13/2013, Brisbane Airport, Australia

An Airbus A330 aborted a takeoff due to an airspeed failure on the captain's display. After returning to the gate, maintenance was performed, which resulted in replacing theAir Data Inertial Reference Unit. The airplane was redispatched, and during the next takeoff, after reaching V1 the crew became aware of an airspeed error but continued the takeoff. The crew declared an emergency, and returned to the airfield uneventfully. Inspection of the Captain's pitot probe revealed it was almost completely plugged with material consistent with a mud-dauber nest.

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