FlightAware Discussions

BREAKING NEWS - Dash 8 Crash in Buffalo


I am thinking engine problems could have doomed this plane–

NTSB Dockets, File 431227–witness statements

pg2 of 131
Vicki Braun
plane engine had ‘‘echo sound’’ then sounded like the engine stopped then heard a ‘‘boom’’

pg2 of 131
Hank Cole
plane didn’t sound right, engine sounded like it was ‘‘revving’’ then cut out and then he heard a bang.

pg 4 of 131 Maha Abdallah
Before the plane impacted the ground, Abdallah noticed sparks coming from the plane.

pg6 of 131
Shannon Alessandra
Just prior to the airplane crashing, the engines made a ‘‘weird sound.’’

pg7 of 131
Jean Andreassen
Andreassen stated that she heard strange noises from the engines

pg8 of 131
Kristen and Aaron Archambeault
They both described the engine noise as ‘‘sputtering’’

pg9 of 131
Stanley Barnas
…he saw a bright orange flash out of the living room window. … After the flash they heard a loud crash. Barnas is 100percent certain the saw the bright orange flash before the crash.

pg11 of 131
Michele Beiter
Michele stated the noise, ‘skipped’ and and she was releived it stopped, and then it started again. Michel is positive there was a skip. Michele further described everthing she heard as, ‘Noise, skip, noise, loud noise.’

pg13 of 131
Robert Bijak
The engines sounded like a metallic rattle and remined Bijak of a car engine with no oil in it.

pg14 of 131
Tin Bojarski
The plane did not sound right and sort of sounded like a car with a broken muffler.

pg17 of 131
Ronald Braunscheidel
…he heard a very loud spitting and sputtering sound of a plane engine flying overhead. Braunscheidel described the noise as a car without a muffler.

pg 18 of 131
Sharon Brennan
Brennan believed the plane was… maybe in trouble based on the noise.

pg22 of 131
Patricia Burns
Burns was able to see most of the left side of the airplane and noticed flames coming from the rear of the aircraft.

pg28 of 131
Dan Cizdziel
…heard a sputtering, binging noise to the north…

pg34 of 131
Andrew Dibiase
The rear of the plane appeared to be red, Dibiase could not confirm, but he thought it was on fire.

pg35 of 131
Peter Dibiase
The plane appeared red in color towards the tail of the plane. Dibiase further explained that a bright red glow was reflected off of the yard.

pg42 of 131
Doug Errick
Errick indicated that as the plane got closer the engines became very rough. Errick thought the engines were coming on and off, almost like engines were trying to come back on, but couldn’t remain running. Errick thought the engines were changing RPMs rapidly.

pg49 of 131
Mary Grefrath
Grefrath recalled that the engine sounded like it was spuddering.

pg65 of 131
Dawn Lao
Lao said the engine noise did not sound right… Lao also saw ‘flashes of white light under the wings of the plane…’

pg66 of 131
Jean Larocque
Larocque… stated he heard puttering plane… Larocque reported that the engines were not making a uniform sound.

pg 77 of 131
Molly Merlo
…she heard the airplane make a ‘‘gurgling’’ sound.

pg81 of 131
Marianne Neri
The engine noise did not sound like a normal plane, but more like a helicopter. It was obvious something was wrong with the engines.

pg85 of 131
Angela Pillo
The sound was very loud and ‘‘rough,’’ as if the engine was having trouble. The sound was further described as sounding like a ‘‘lawn mower’’

pg91 of 131
Lisa Rott
…she heard a consistent low grumbling sound that she believed to be a propeller plane. Rott advised that the sound the plane’s engines was not smooth and did not sound like other propeller planes that she has heard in the past.

pg96 of 131
Kenneth Smith
…heard a big bag then continued to hear the sound of airplane engines.

pg89 of 131
Joseph Summers
…heard a plane which was very low and didn’t sound normal. Mr. Summers cited a ‘‘rambling noise’’ which sounded as if an engine was not running properly.

pg101 of 131
Rick Telfair
Telfair stated he then heard a winding or grinding noise, then a screeching or grinding noise and approximately 20-30 seconds later heard a large boom… Telfair further described the noise of the engine as fighting, almost as though they were trying to go faster but couldn’t, not accelerating but distressed.

pg 102 of 131
Denise Trabucco
Trabucco described the sound as a humming, similar to a transformer prior to it blowing. Aafter the humming, Trabucco heard a popping sound. … About a minute after the humming and popping sound, Trabucco and her family felt a vibration that felt a little like an earthquake.

pg105 of 131
Lorraine Unverzart
The airplane engines made a ‘‘chugging’’ sound, similar to a ‘‘spark plug misfiring.’’

pg106 of 131
Louis Vitello
…he heard the plane engines sputtering as it approached, and then heard a ‘‘poppomg sound.’’ Immediately after that Mr. Vitello heard ‘‘grinding’’ noised, stating that the noises reminded him of gears grinding together, sounding like the gears were missing teeth.

pg124 of 131
David Wolf
…the engines were making an unusual ‘‘shuttering’’ sound

pg126 of 131
Melissa Wols
She stated she heard the plane… grinding and sputtering as it approached and passed over his residence. Wols advised it sounded similar to what grinding metal would sound like.

pg129 of 131
Rita Zirnheld
It ‘‘sounded like sputtering’’ and ‘‘engine was coughing.’’

pg130 of 131
Barbara Garret
She said the plane engine was making loud noises, as though metal was banging and clattering.


Does the NTSB report say it had engine problems? No, the flight data recorder didn’t show that either. The FDR records a ton of things and the engines were in there as well. Again you have people on the ground who are not pilots nor even trained on this airplane saying what they thought they heard. Pilot error is what doomed this flight!!!


Classic example of the reliability of, “eye witness” accounts…


That’s kind of like one of the “eye witness” accounts of a 9/11 conspiracy explanation I heard.

“It was a big grey plane, so it had to be military”.


Prop noise sounds different at different angles


…Along with various power settings, RPM, airspeeds…


Especially the Q-400


I seriously doubt just being put into a dive will make an engine produce grinding, skipping, popping, etc. sounds. I wonder where these quotes came from–

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/02/investigators_gathe r_wreckage.html
’’…initial reports said the plane was held up due to mechanical problems’’
(explaining why the plane took off two hours late from Newark)

(Erie County Executive Chris)Collins said that … crew members had reported mechanical problems as they approached Buffalo Niagara International Airport.


Regardless- The captain PULLED UP during the stall, and the FO retracted the flaps. This is why they crashed. Not do to an engiene failure or a wing falling off, of a popping, sputtering or windmilling prop.
from the second or third flight from your primary flight training you’re taught to lower the nose when approaching or in a stall condition, NEVER to pull back.
the condition was exacerbated buy the FO freaking out and retracting the flaps.

even if one of the engines had failed this AC should have never been allowed to stall/spin.


This captain, along with many others, had “tailplane icing” hammered into their heads for quite a while.

I’d be willing to bet that when he felt the nose pitch over, in icing conditions, he reacted to what he thought was an H-stab stall, yanking the nose up to reduce AoA on the tail, as he had been taught.

Too bad he didn’t bother to look at the airspeed at any point before or after the stall occurred.


Having the stick pusher activate might have been a clue also!


So you’re some sort of an expert that’ll believe unsubstantiated witness testimony from non aviation professionals over the factual findings of the NTSB? Oh brother. :unamused:

Time to get out the troll spray again…


More evidence of engine problems before the plane crashed?

File ID 417219 from the NTSB Dockets, ‘‘Powerplant Group field notes,’’ does seem to indicate that the left prop may have thrown three ‘counterweight’ assemblies right before the crash, which may have caused some of the shaft bearings to disintegrate(or vise versa). Remember a few of the ear-witnesses heard a sound like metal grinding on metal.

No 1 engine-

-Three of the six counterweights remained attached to their respective propeller blade outer sleeve, while the other three had become separated and were not recovered by the Powerplant Group.

The No.15 roller bearing, located on the aft side of the bull gear, was present and the cage was fractured with two(2) of the roller elements missing. …the No.19 roller bearing rolling elements were visible and one(1) roller was missing. …The No.2.5 roller bearing cage was still attached to the front of the LP shaft. The cage appeared intact but all the roller elements were missing.

The outer diameter of the PT(power turbine) shaft exhibited circumferential rub mark(s) from the fractured end to almost the shoulder where the shaft diameter changes.

The three(3) blade positions sequentially around about the top(as the propellor was situated on the ground) had complete sets of counterweight assemblies(counter weight arm, counterweight, and rear collar) still attached, while the three(3) blade positions that were buried in the ground were missing their complete counterweight assembly.

It should be noted that none of the aforementioned damage was reported for the No.2 engine.

They said they never found the missing counterweights. Maybe they should have looked harder–

File ID 431227
pg27of131, Mary Cimato
The Cimato’s also pointed out three large holes in a pond located behind their house… … The previous day the entire pond was frozen over, and the morning after the crash they observed holes in the ice.


Completely irrelevant and never determined to be a causal factor by the NTSB. There was no indication of engine/propeller anomolies prior to the loss of aircraft contol. What you’re posting had nothing to do with how and why the aircraft lost control, subsequently stalled, and then spun into the ground.


That is exactly the point. All you have to do is watch the video recreation from the Flight Data Recorder. You will see the pilots reduce power to slow for landing, then never increase power once approach speed is met. The aircraft then slows to stall speed, and the pilot, in what was determined to be in a panic, not a deliberate move, pulled the controls full aft. This aircraft crashed due to a basic slow flight stall, and improper recovery from the flight crew. The voice recorder and data recorder show a pattern of panic from both pilots. They just weren’t prepared for something to happen, and it bit them.


Well, it’s those little details that will get you, ya know! :wink:


Yep… Like SA and maintaining airspeed.

As most know, the grit of the accident sequence started when the crew neglected to increase power to maintain proper airspeed after the leveling at the assigned descent altitude.


The guy I fly with twice has almost stalled the airplane at an alt of less then 3000.
The first time he did it I was in the right seat and he had the power levers at flight idle and his head down fu*king with the GPS because in the last TWO years he hasn’t figured out how to load an approach.
I just sat back and watched as you could feel the auto-pilot start to pitch up to maintain ALT as we slowed down and when we were at Vref +10 and 15 degrees noise up I finally reached up and pushed the power levers forward. I never said a word to him as I figured the sour look on my face and the disdain in my voice had been enough for him to figure out he had messed up BIG TIME but I was wrong as he did the same exact thing a week later with another pilot.
So many pilots have no clue how to read what is happening by what your body is telling you. I didn’t have to look at the airspeed to know we were getting dangerously slow, I could tell cause the noise kept creeping up and up and up. Yet he was oblivious. This same pilot keeps his eyes inside during a visual approach and it drives me NUTS!

My rant has a point- Most pilots these days have very poor skills, pilot mills have had an impact on the quality of pilot we’ve produced these days. “From Zero time to ATP in a month” "all you need is a pulse and $30,000"
No stick and rudder skills, most pilots have never been out and Stall/spin an AC.

Rant over


I am aware of the NTSB’s conclusions. But I think they are lying to protect the carrier or the manufacturer.

Also of interest is a text message Capt Renslow sent back to dispatch very late into the flight, probably at some point in the descent.

NTSB Dockets File ID 417472

ACARS Report, pg2of3
AIRCRAFT COMMUNICATIONS ADDRESSING AND REPORTING SYSTEM, is mostly a transport network, used to pass short messages back and forth between aircraft and ground facilities. Typically this is the dispatch office of an airline.

A message to ACARS, very late in the flight, is described as

‘‘Uplink-PLEASE ADVICE ME’’ (sic)

Did this mean the pilot was asking for advice on a problem with the aircraft as he was descending?

This message was transmitted 1 hour, 21 minutes after take-off, though the flight only lasted an hour, according to the Flight Data Recorder. It is possible the pilot was circling around before landing hoping to fix a problem that he had.

wjz.com/national/NTSB.continenta … 35294.html
On Friday, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had told him he believes the aircraft made a 180-degree turn at 5,000 feet.