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Last updated: 1 December 2021
Date:Tuesday 26 December 1989
Type:Silhouette image of generic JS31 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
British Aerospace 3101 Jetstream 31
Operated by:North Pacific Airlines - NPA
On behalf of:United Express
Registration: N410UE
MSN: 776
First flight: 1987
Total airframe hrs:4972
Engines: 2 Garrett TPE331-10UG-514H
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Total:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Pasco-Tri-Cities Airport, WA (PSC) (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Yakima Air Terminal, WA (YKM/KYKM), United States of America
Destination airport:Pasco-Tri-Cities Airport, WA (PSC/KPSC), United States of America
United Express Flight 2415 took off from Seattle for a flight to Pasco via Yakima. While flying into Yakima, the flight encountered icing conditions. After landing, the first officer (together with a deadheading pilot) knocked ice of the wings. The NPA station agent at Yakima asked the captain if he wanted to deice the aircraft, or just the tail plane, since both pilots just removed the ice from the wings. The captain declined both offers.
The aircraft took off again at 22.03 using runway 27. Since Pasco tower was closing at 22:30, Seattle Center cleared the flight for an ILS runway 21R approach. At 22:30 the aircraft was observed descending fast from a higher than normal altitude. The aircraft suddenly nosed over and crashed short of the runway.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The flight crew's decision to continue an unstabilized instrument landing system approach that led to a stall, most likely of the horizontal stabilizer, and loss of control at low altitude. Contributing to the accident was the air traffic controller's improper vectors that positioned the airplane inside the outer marker while it was still well above the glide slope. Contributing to the stall and loss of control was the accumulation of airframe ice that degraded the aerodynamic performance of the airplane."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 10 months
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-91-06
Download report: Final report

Landing after unstabilized approach
Loss of control

» NTSB Safety Recommendations A-94-70 through -72
» Ian Churchill
» NTSB Safety Recommendations A-92-59 through -65
» NTSB/AAR-91/06

Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 7 Safety Recommendations

Show all...


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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Yakima Air Terminal, WA to Pasco-Tri-Cities Airport, WA as the crow flies is 114 km (71 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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