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DC93, vicinity Charlotte NC USA, 1994

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On 2 July 1994, an DC-9 operated by US Air, collided with trees and a house shortly after attempting a missed approach at Charlotte Airport, USA, in heavy thunderstorms. 37 passengers were killed.
Event Details
When July 1994
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Human Factors, Loss of Control, Weather
Day/Night Day
Flight Conditions IMC
Flight Details
Aircraft DOUGLAS DC-9-30
Operator US Airways
Domicile United States
Type of Flight Public Transport (Passenger)
Origin LaGuardia Airport
Intended Destination Charlotte/Douglas
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed No
Flight Phase Missed Approach
Location - Airport
Airport vicinity Charlotte/Douglas
Tag(s) Approach not stabilised,
Inadequate ATC Procedures
Tag(s) Ineffective Monitoring,
Procedural non compliance
Tag(s) Environmental Factors
Tag(s) Strong Surface Winds,
Low Level Windshear
Safety Net Mitigations
Wind Shear Escape Guidance Available but ineffective
Damage or injury Yes
Aircraft damage Hull loss
Injuries Many occupants
Fatalities Many occupants ()
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation,
Aircraft Airworthiness,
Air Traffic Management
Investigation Type
Type Independent


On 2 July 1994, an DC-9 operated by US Airways, collided with trees and a house shortly after attempting a missed approach at Charlotte Airport, USA, in heavy thunderstorms. 37 passengers were killed.


This is an extract from the Executive Summary of the official report into the accident published by the National Transportation Safety Board (National Transportation Safety Board (USA) (NTSB)) (USA).

“On July 2, 1994, about 1843 eastern daylight time, a Douglas DC-9, N954VJ, operated by USAir, Inc., as flight 1016, collided with trees and a private residence near the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina, shortly after the flightcrew executed a missed approach from the [ILS] approach to runway 18R. The captain, first officer, one flight attendant, and one passenger received minor injuries. Two flight attendants and 14 passengers sustained serious injuries. The remaining 37 passengers received fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an [IFR] flight plan had been filed…"

The probable cause of the accident was given as:

"…The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable causes of the accident were:

  • The flightcrew’s decision to continue an approach into severe convective activity that was conducive to a microburst;
  • The flightcrew’s failure to recognize a windshear situation in a timely manner;
  • The flightcrew’s failure to establish and maintain the proper airplane attitude and thrust setting necessary to escape the windshear;
  • The lack of real-time adverse weather and windshear hazard information dissemination from air traffic control;

…all of which led to an encounter with and failure to escape from a microburst-induced windshear that was produced by a rapidly developing thunderstorm located at the approach end of runway 18R.

Contributing to the accident were:

  • The lack of air traffic control procedures that would have required the controller to display and issue airport surveillance radar (ASR-9) weather information to the pilots of flight 1016;
  • The Charlotte tower supervisor’s failure to properly advise and ensure that all controllers were aware of and reporting the reduction in visibility and the runway visual range value information, and the low level windshear alerts that had occurred in multiple quadrants;
  • The inadequate remedial actions by USAir to ensure adherence to standard operating procedures, and
  • The inadequate software logic in the airplane’s windshear warning system that did not provide an alert upon entry into the windshear."

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