definition of Wikipedia
|Date||August 16, 1987|
|Type||Pilot error/incorrect plane configuration prior to takeoff/taxi/system failure|
(a suburb of Detroit)
|Injuries||6, including 5 on ground|
|Fatalities||156, including 2 on ground|
|Aircraft type||McDonnell Douglas MD-82|
|Flight origin||Tri-City Airport|
|Stopover||Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport|
|Last stopover||Sky Harbor Int'l Airport|
|Destination||John Wayne Airport|
Northwest Airlines Flight 255 was a flight that originated at MBS International Airport in Saginaw, Michigan, and was scheduled to terminate at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, with intermediate stops at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Michigan, near Detroit, and at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. The flight crashed after takeoff in Romulus on August 16, 1987, at about 20:46 EDT (8:46 p.m. local time, 00:46 UTC August 17), killing all of the crew and passengers except for a 4-year-old girl, Cecelia Cichan, who sustained serious injuries, according to a report by the FAA's Office of Aviation Research. At the time, Flight 255 was the second deadliest aviation disaster in U.S history.
The aircraft was a twin-engined McDonnell Douglas MD-82, FAA tail number N312RC piloted by Captain John R. Maus, 57, and First Officer David J. Dodds, 35. Northwest 255 was carrying 149 passengers and 6 crew. The jet had entered service with Northwest Airlines immediately after the merger with Republic Airlines, and the aircraft was still wearing a hybrid Republic/Northwest livery (full Republic branding but with "Northwest" titles on the forward fuselage) at the time of the accident.
Flight 255 made its takeoff roll on Detroit's Runway 3C at approximately 8:45PM EDT with Capt. Maus at the controls. The plane lifted off the runway at 170 knots (195 mph) and soon began to roll from side to side at a height just under 50 feet above the ground. The MD-82 went into a stall and rolled 40 degrees to the left when it struck a light pole near the end of the runway, severing 18 feet of its left wing and igniting jet fuel stored in the wing. It then rolled 90 degrees to the right, and its right wing tore through the roof of an Avis rental car building. The plane, now uncontrolled, crashed inverted onto Middlebelt Road and hit vehicles just north of the intersection of Wick Rd. The aircraft then broke apart and burst into flames as it hit a railroad overpass and the overpass of eastbound Interstate 94.
The lone survivor of the aircraft was four-year-old Cecelia Cichan of Tempe, Arizona. Cecelia Cichan's mother, Paula Cichan, died in the crash, along with her father, Michael, and her 6-year-old brother, David. After the crash, Cecelia Cichan  lived with relatives in Birmingham, Alabama, who shielded her from public attention.
One of the passengers on Northwest 255 who died was Nick Vanos, a center for the Phoenix Suns basketball team. Two motorists on nearby Middlebelt Road were also killed. Five other persons on the ground were injured, one seriously. Fatalities were moved to a hangar at the airport functioning as a temporary morgue.
Twenty-nine passengers on board Flight 255 were under the age of 20. The youngest was 4-month-old Katelyn Best, of Mesa, Arizona. Two 12-year-olds flying alone also died in the crash. Arlene Nelson was from Detroit and Justin Keener was from Scottsdale, Arizona.
Of the 154 people on board Flight 255, 110 were from Arizona. Most were residents of Phoenix or its surrounding areas. 18 people on the plane were residents of Michigan.
The NTSB probable cause statement is as follows: "The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the flightcrew's failure to use the taxi checklist to ensure the flaps and slats were extended for takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the absence of electrical power to the airplane takeoff warning system which thus did not warn the flightcrew that the airplane was not configured properly for takeoff. The reason for the absence of electrical power could not be determined."
The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) provided the evidence regarding the flightcrew omission of the taxi checklist. The stall warning was annunciated. Using the CVR the investigators determined that the aural takeoff warning was not annunciated. The NTSB was unable to determine why there was an electrical power failure to the Central Aural Warning System (CAWS).
Specifically, the NTSB could not determine if the circuit breaker had been tripped, intentionally opened, or if electrical current failed to flow through that circuit breaker to the CAWS while the breaker remained closed.
Other MD-80 pilots reported that some operators would occasionally intentionally open the P-40 circuit breaker to prevent annoyance of stall / flap warning annunciation during taxi operations.
21 years later, Spanair Flight 5022 crashed in Madrid airport due to incorrect flap settings, also created by omission during taxi checklists and fault of associated warning system. Coincidentally, 154 people also died in this accident which involved the same aircraft type as NW 255.
In memory of the victims, a black granite memorial, which was erected in 1994 - seven years after the tragic event, stands at the top of the hill surrounded by blue spruce trees at Middlebelt Road and Interstate 94, the site of the crash. The memorial has a dove with a ribbon in its beak saying "Their spirit still lives on..." and below it are the names of those who perished in the crash.
A monument to the victims of the crash, many of whom were from the Phoenix Area, stands next to Phoenix City Hall in downtown Phoenix.
News footage about the cause of the crash can be heard in The 7A3's song Mad Mad World.
On August 16, 2007, the twentieth anniversary of the crash, a memorial service was held at the Detroit crash site. For some of the people affected by the incident, it was the first time they had returned to the site since the crash.
After the crash in 1987, Northwest followed standard procedure and no longer used 255 as a flight number. From late 1987 until Northwest was absorbed by Delta in early 2010, the last nonstop flight from Detroit to Phoenix was renumbered as Flight 261. Delta continues the retirement of 255 by Northwest, as there is currently no Delta flight 255.
Flight 255 is featured in Season 9 of National Geographic's show, Air Crash Investigation, in an episode titled "Alarming Silence" The episode shows the events of the crash, as well as the investigation, and includes interviews with Flight 255 rescue workers, investigators and other MD-80 pilots.
Dictionary and translator for handheld
New : sensagent is now available on your handheld
A windows (pop-into) of information (full-content of Sensagent) triggered by double-clicking any word on your webpage. Give contextual explanation and translation from your sites !
With a SensagentBox, visitors to your site can access reliable information on over 5 million pages provided by Sensagent.com. Choose the design that fits your site.
Improve your site content
Add new content to your site from Sensagent by XML.
Crawl products or adds
Get XML access to reach the best products.
Index images and define metadata
Get XML access to fix the meaning of your metadata.
Please, email us to describe your idea.
Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
Boggle gives you 3 minutes to find as many words (3 letters or more) as you can in a grid of 16 letters. You can also try the grid of 16 letters. Letters must be adjacent and longer words score better. See if you can get into the grid Hall of Fame !
Change the target language to find translations.
Tips: browse the semantic fields (see From ideas to words) in two languages to learn more.