Accident McDonnell Douglas MD-87 N753RA, Friday 14 March 1997
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Date:Friday 14 March 1997
Type:Silhouette image of generic MD87 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
McDonnell Douglas MD-87
Owner/operator:Reno Air
Registration: N753RA
MSN: 49587/1541
Year of manufacture:1988
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 111
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial, repaired
Location:Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW) -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW/KDTW)
Destination airport:Reno/Tahoe International Airport, NV (RNO/KRNO)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A McDonnell Douglas MD-87, N753RA, operated as Reno Air flight 153 from Detroit, Michigan, to Reno, Nevada, experienced a partial loss of power on both engines during takeoff. The flight returned to Detroit and landed at 06:58 without further incident. Neither the 5 crewmembers nor the 106 passengers were injured.
The captain stated that he was aware that there had been an ice storm during the night prior to the accident. The first officer reported that during the preflight he noted a layer of frost on the bottom of the right wing. He also reported that he used a ladder to inspect the top of both wings using the "stick" and his hand. He did not find any ice. In addition, after entering the cockpit he went outside once again and inspected the right wing for ice, using the stick and his hand. Once again, he did not detect any ice. According to the captain, he went into the cabin area and looked out the windows at the wings as the first officer was outside. He said the wings were wet, but there was no ice. At 06:00 EST, the captain informed the ground crew that the airplane would not need to be deiced.
The captain reported they were pushed back from the gate at 06:35 and began taxiing at 06:37. At 06:45 the airplane taxied onto runway 03L for takeoff. The captain reported he held the brakes and ran the engines to 1.4 engine pressure ratio (EPR) which was about 70% N1. He reported all engine indications were normal so he stabilized the engines at 1.6 EPR. The captain then called for autothrottles ON and the power increased to 2.02 EPR. The first officer stated that the airspeed seemed to stagnate for "a second" at 100 knots during the takeoff roll. He said he called V1 a little slower than normal and the captain rotated slightly slower than normal.
Both pilots reported the first indication of a problem occurred immediately after liftoff at an altitude of 50 to 100 feet above the ground. The captain reported the "right engine popped" and the No.1 engine EPR gauge fluctuated. The first officer reported hearing a loud popping sound and the airplane shuddered.
The pilots reported that they received clearance from the tower to land on any runway. The captain said he disengaged the autothrottles and pulled the left throttle back a half knob behind the right throttle because the left engine seemed more erratic. The captain then called for gear retraction.

The captain reported that at an altitude of about 200 agl the airspeed decreased to approximately V2 and the airplane had very little climb performance. They advanced the left throttle so it was even with the right and once the gear was retracted the rate of climb increased. The captain reported the EPRs were fluctuating above 2.02.
The crew reported they initially turned the airplane for a landing on runway 21L. The flaps remained extended 11 degrees and both engines were experiencing compressor stalls. The captain reported they climbed to an altitude of 3,400 feet mean sea level (msl). The crew completed the appropriate checklists and were cleared to descend to 3,000 feet msl. The first officer suggested they turn on the airfoil anti-ice system as the captain reduced the power to descend. The captain reported that when power on the engines was reduced through an EPR setting of 1.60 to 1.70 and the airspeed decreased to approximately 180 knots, the compressor stalls stopped. The crew elected to change runways to land on runway 3L due to weight conditions and runway length. The airplane landed without incident.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The captains failure to have the airplane deiced prior to takeoff which resulted in ice ingestion into both engines. Factors associated with the accident were the icing weather conditions, wing ice, an inadequate detection of the ice during the preflight, and the dark lighting conditions when the first officer was performing the preflight."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: CHI97FA083
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 11 months
Download report: Final report




Revision history:


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