Continental Connection Crash in Buffalo

12 February 2009; Continental Connection (Colgan Air) Dash 8 Q-400; near Buffalo, NY: The aircraft, a scheduled flight from Newark, NJ and operated by Colgan Air, crashed in a residential area about seven miles from the airport. At least one house on the ground was destroyed. All 45 passengers and four crew members were killed, along with one person on the ground.

During a public meeting on February 2, 2010, the NTSB adopted a report on the February 12, 2009 crash of Continental Connection flight 3407 that determined that the captain inappropriately responded to the activation of the stick shaker, which led to a stall from which the airplane did not recover.

The aircraft was a Bombardier Dash 8 (N200WQ), and was flying as a Continental Connection aircraft, though it was operated by Colgan Air. On the night of February 12, 2009, it was on a scheduled flight from Newark, NJ to Buffalo, NY and crashed in a residential area about five miles (8km) from the airport. One house on the ground was destroyed. All 45 passengers and four crew members were killed, along with one person on the ground.

Continental crash in Buffalo on 12 February 2009

Continental Connection Crash in Buffalo

Their report stated that during approach, when the stick shaker activated to warn the flight crew of an impending aerodynamic stall, the captain should have responded to the warning by pushing forward on the control column. However, the captain inappropriately pulled aft on the control column and placed the airplane into an accelerated aerodynamic stall from which the crew could not recover. The NTSB also identified as probable causes the flight crew's communications procedures, the captain's ineffective management, and the airline's procedures for airspeed selection during approaches in icing conditions.

This investigation has generated substantial public interest over the past year in part because of issues, that may have contributed indirectly to this accident, including crew fatigue and the related issue of pilot pay. The captain commuted hundreds of miles and the first officer commuted from the other side of the country prior to reporting for duty, and the NTSB concluded that both pilots used an inappropriate facility during their last rest period before the accident flight. The NTSB also concluded that the pilotsí performance was likely impaired because of fatigue.

The synopsis of the accident investigation report is currently available, and the full report will be available in a few months. In the meantime, the public can review a wide variety of information, including the public docket, which contains testimony, exhibits, and other information used by the NTSB during the investigation.

Previous Continental Crashes
Other Dash 8 Events Synopsis of NTSB accident investigation NTSB press release on the accident report NTSB public docket on the investigation
Colgan Air input to the NTSB investigation
Continental Airlines Wikipedia Page
Continental Express Wikipedia Page
Continental Connection Wikipedia Page
Continental Fleet
Continental Express Fleet
Colgan Air Fleet

Listen to's Initial Report on this Accident

Previous NTSB Hearing on the Buffalo Plane Crash

On May 12th, 2009, the NTSB began a three-day public hearing about its ongoing investigation into the fatal February 2009 crash of a Continental Connection airliner in Buffalo, NY. Among the issues that came up were the possible roles of crew fatigue and crew training in the accident. During the last day of the hearing, noted aviation consultant Mike Boyd and I sat down with host Dave Berns of the "State of Nevada" program on KNPR radio in Las Vegas.
Listen to the Interview.
NTSB Public Docket on the Investigation

Continental Connection Crash in Buffalo

Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

NTSB Accident Animation

The following NTSB animation of the last few minutes of the flight shows excerpts from the flight data recorder (FDR), the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) transcript, recorded radar data, and aircraft performance data. The audio portion of the video is from air traffic control communications, and does not include audio from the cockpit.

For more videos, visit the YouTube channel.

Continental Connection Crash in Buffalo 12 February 2009
Revised: 3 February 2010

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