Photo of British Midland Airways (BMI) 737-400
Photo of British Midland Airways (BMI) 737-400
Photo copyright Frank C. Duarte - used with permission
Accident Perspectives:
Airplane Life Cycle
  • Operational
  • Design / Manufacturing
Accident Threat CategoriesGroupings
  • Crew Resource Management
  • Flight Deck Layout / Avionics Confusion
  • Cabin Safety / Hazardous Cargo
  • Approach and Landing
Accident Common Themes
  • Human Error
  • Organizational Lapses

British Midland Flight 92, Boeing B-737-400

Location: Kegworth, United Kingdom

Date: January 8, 1989

Approximately 13 minutes after takeoff from London's Heathrow Airport, on a flight planned to Belfast, Ireland, the outer portion of a fan blade on the number one engine failed as the airplane was climbing through 28,000 feet. The fan blade failure resulted in high levels of airframe vibration, a series of compressor stalls in the left engine, fluctuation of the left engine parameters, and smoke and fumes in the flight deck. The flight crew, believing that the right engine had failed, reduced thrust on that engine, and subsequently shut it down. The airframe vibration ceased as soon as thrust was reduced on the right engine, reinforcing the crew's identification as the right engine having been the engine that had failed.

The crew initiated a diversion to East Midlands Airport, which progressed normally until, at 2.4 nautical miles from the runway, a fire warning and abrupt thrust loss occurred on the left engine. Attempts to restart the right engine were unsuccessful, and the airplane crashed approximately one-half mile short of the airport. Thirty-nine passengers died in the accident, and eight others died later due to their injuries. Of the other 79 occupants, 74 suffered serious injury.