Accident Embraer EMB-145XR N14171, Monday 4 March 2019
ASN logo

Date:Monday 4 March 2019
Type:Silhouette image of generic E145 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Embraer EMB-145XR
Owner/operator:CommutAir, opf United Express
Registration: N14171
MSN: 14500859
Year of manufacture:2004
Engine model:Allison AE3007A1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 31
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial, written off
Location:Presque Isle International Airport, ME (PQI) -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Newark-Liberty International Airport, NJ (EWR/KEWR)
Destination airport:Presque Isle International Airport, ME (PQI/KPQI)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
United Express flight 4933, operated by CommutAir, was attempting to land on runway 1 at Presque Isle International Airport (PQI), Maine, USA, and impacted terrain to the right of the runway.
The first officer and two of the passengers were injured. The airplane was substantially damaged.

The accident flight departed from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey, about 10:04. The captain was the pilot monitoring, and the first officer was the pilot flying. The en route portion of the flight was uneventful.
Once the airplane was in range of PQI, the flight crew received an updated airport weather report at the time, a special weather observation at 10:31. The observation indicated that the wind was from 090° at 5 knots, visibility was 1/2 mile in moderate snow and freezing fog, and the cloud ceiling was broken at 1,100 ft and overcast at 1,800 ft.
At 11:01 a controller from the Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) cleared the flight for an ILS approach to runway 1, and the crew was subsequently instructed to change to the PQI common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF); PQI did not have an air traffic control tower.
The captain made position reports during the approach and at 11:08:38 she stated that the approach was stable and that she had "ground contact."
At 11:09:54, the captain stated, "runway in sight. See it?" to which the first officer responded, "yeah" and "well I got somethin’ [that] looks like a runway up there." After losing sight of the runway, at 11:10:09, the captain stated, "go missed" twice. The first officer stated that, when he transitioned from looking at the instruments to looking outside, he expected to see the runway but saw what he described as "white on white."
The airplane had descended to a minimum pressure altitude of 703 ft (169 ft agl) before beginning to ascend.

The flight then positioned for a second approach to runway 1. The captain made the 1,000-ft callout at 11:27:21 and stated that the approach was stable. At 11:28:37, the enhanced ground proximity warning system announced "minimums," shortly after the captain had made the 100-ft callout.
About 2 seconds after the "minimums" annunciation, the captain called, "runway in sight twelve o’clock."
The first officer stated that, when he transitioned from the instruments to the outside during the second approach, he saw "white on white" again and blowing snow. The first officer also stated that it was difficult to comprehend what he was seeing outside the airplane because everything was covered in snow and that, before he could determine what he was seeing, the airplane touched down.
The airplane came to rest in the snow-covered grassy area between runway 1 and a parallel taxiway located about 630 ft to the right of the runway. The airplane’s resting location was about 3,600 ft beyond the runway threshold, about 305 ft to the right of the runway centerline, and about 230 ft from the right edge of runway.

Probable Cause:
The flight crew’s decision, due to confirmation bias, to continue the descent below the decision altitude when the runway had not been positively identified.
Contributing to the accident were (1) the first officer’s fatigue, which exacerbated his confirmation bias, and (2) the failure of CommutAir pilots who had observed the localizer misalignment to report it to the company and air traffic before the accident.


15:31 UTC / 10:31 local time:
KPQI 041531Z AUTO 09005KT 1/2SM -SN FZFG BKN011 OVC018 M02/M04 A2971 RMK AO2 P0000 FZRANO RVRNO

15:56 UTC / 10:56 local time:
KPQI 041556Z AUTO 08006KT 1/2SM SN FZFG OVC013 M02/M04 A2970 RMK AO2 SLP103 P0001 T10221044 FZRANO RVRNO

16:18 UTC / 11:18 local time:
KPQI 041618Z AUTO 06004KT 1/2SM SN FZFG M03/M04 A2968 RMK AO2 P0000 FZRANO RVRNO

16:43 UTC / 11:43 local time:
KPQI 041643Z AUTO 07005KT 3/4SM -SN SCT008 OVC013 M01/M04 A2967 RMK AO2 P0001 FZRANO RVRNO

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: DCA19FA089
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 years and 4 months
Download report: Final report





photo (c) NTSB; Presque Isle International Airport, ME (PQI); 04 March 2019; (publicdomain)

photo (c) NTSB; Presque Isle International Airport, ME (PQI); 04 March 2019; (publicdomain)

photo (c) NTSB; Presque Isle International Airport, ME (PQI); 04 March 2019; (publicdomain)

photo (c) Charles Walters; Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX); 24 January 2008

Revision history:


The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2024 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av, 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314