NTSB Blames Crew For Pinnacle Airlines CRJ Crash


The NTSB on Tuesday blamed the pilots of a Pinnacle Airlines Bombardier CL-600-2B19 regional jet for the crash that killed them both in October 2004. “This accident was caused by the pilots’ inappropriate and unprofessional behavior,” said NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker in a news release. “Simply adhering to standard operating procedures and correctly implementing emergency procedures would have gone a long way to averting this tragic accident.” But a contributing factor, the Board said, was that the engine cores locked, which prevented at least one engine from being restarted, and the airplane flight manuals didn’t communicate to pilots the importance of maintaining a minimum airspeed to keep the engine cores rotating. The Safety Board also recommended that the FAA should require air carriers to provide their pilots with opportunities to practice high-altitude stall-recovery techniques in the simulator. The Pinnacle Airlines jet had departed on a repositioning flight from Little Rock National Airport about 9:21 p.m. on October 14, 2004, en route to Minneapolis-St. Paul. The captain requested and received clearance to climb to the jet’s maximum operating altitude of 41,000 feet. After the aircraft reached 41,000 feet, the airplane entered several stalls and shortly thereafter had double engine failure. The two pilots were unable to restart the engines. They attempted to make an emergency landing at the Jefferson City, Missouri airport but crashed in a residential area about three miles south of the airport. Capt. Jesse Rhodes, 31, and co-pilot Peter Cesarz, 23, were killed. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire.