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N989FX accident description

Maryland map... Maryland list
Crash location 39.184722°N, 76.667223°W
Nearest city Baltimore, MD
39.290385°N, 76.612189°W
7.9 miles away
Tail number N989FX
Accident date 24 Feb 2015
Aircraft type Cessna 208
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On February 24, 2015, at 0612 eastern standard time, a Cessna 208B, N989FX, was substantially damaged when its empennage struck the ground while taxiing at Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI), Baltimore, Maryland. The airline transport pilot was not injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from Newark Liberty International (EWR), Newark, New Jersey and was destined for BWI. The on-demand cargo flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

Following an uneventful flight, the pilot landed the airplane on runway 33R, before exiting to the left onto taxiway J. He then continued to taxi to the southwest and transitioned onto taxiway AA. As the airplane approached the intersection of the taxiway and a service road, a ground service vehicle approached from the airplane's right. The pilot applied the airplane's brakes and full reverse thrust, and the airplane came to a stop. The ground service vehicle passed in front of the airplane at an estimated distance of between 2 and 3 feet, and the vehicle and the airplane did not collide.

The pilot stated that the "hard" braking and reverse thrust application caused the nose landing gear strut to compress, resulting in a "spring effect that was multiplied by removing reverse thrust rapidly." The airplane then pitched up and the empennage struck the ground, resulting in substantial damage to the airframe. The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical malfunctions or failures of the airplane's systems.

The operator of the ground service vehicle stated that he was proceeding to the security gate and was reaching down to grab an airport badge. The operator noticed the airplane when he looked up and immediately "slammed" on the brakes. The vehicle eventually came to a stop after crossing the taxiway.

Review of security camera video showed a sequence of events consistent with the statements provided by the pilot and the ground vehicle operator. Additionally, the airplane was taxiing with its landing lights, taxi lights, strobe lights, and rotating beacon lights on. The ground service vehicle's headlights, taillights, running lights, and a roof-mounted beacon were also on.

The 0554 weather conditions reported at BWI included 10 statute miles visibility and scattered clouds at 22,000 feet. The beginning of civil twilight occurred at 0620 and sunrise occurred at 0647. Moonrise occurred at 1024.

Code of Maryland Regulations K(1) titled "Yielding the Right-of-Way" states "Any person operating a motor vehicle on the air operations area shall yield the right-of-way to aircraft in motion or aircraft with engines running, ready to be put in motion."

NTSB Probable Cause

The ground service vehicle operator's failure to yield right of way to the airplane due to distraction, which necessitated the pilot's use of reverse thrust and braking to avoid a collision and resulted in the airplane's empennage striking the ground.

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