Sunday, January 01, 2023

Embraer ERJ-175, N264NN: Fatal accident occurred December 31, 2022 at Montgomery Regional Airport (KMGM), Alabama

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Banning, David

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration; / Flight Standards District Office; Alabama and NW Florida

Location: Montgomery, Alabama
Accident Number: DCA23LA109
Date and Time: December 31, 2022, Local 
Registration: N264NN
Aircraft: EMBRAER S A ERJ 170-200 LR 
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 63 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 121: Air carrier - Scheduled

On December 31, 2022, about 1539 eastern standard time (EST), an Embraer 170 airplane, N264NN, was involved in an accident while parked at the gate with one engine running at Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM), Montgomery, Alabama. The 63 passengers and crew onboard were uninjured. One ramp personnel was fatally injured. The flight was operating under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulation Part 121 as a regularly scheduled domestic passenger flight from Dallas Fort Worth (DFW), Texas to MGM.

The flight was operated by Envoy Air Inc. doing business as American Eagle flight ENY3408 with an inoperative auxiliary power unit (APU). The flight crew reported that after an uneventful flight they elected to leave both engines running for the required two-minute engine cool down period. As the airplane approached the gate, three ramp agents were present, but clear of the safety area. After stopping the aircraft and setting the parking brake, the captain gave the hand signal to connect the airplane to ground power. As he was shutting down the number 2 (right) engine the “DOOR CRG FWD OPEN” engine indicating and crew alerting system (EICAS) message appeared (indicating that the forward cargo door had opened). The first officer (FO) opened his cockpit window to inform the ramp agent that the engines were still operating. The captain then made a brief announcement asking the passengers to remain seated until the seat belt sign had been turned off. He then relayed his intentions to the FO that the seat belt sign would stay illuminated until they had connected to ground power and could shut down the number 1 (left) engine. Immediately thereafter, he saw a warning light illuminate and the airplane shook violently followed by the immediate automatic shutdown of the number 1 engine. Unsure of what had occurred, he extinguished the emergency lights and shut off both batteries before leaving the flight deck to investigate.

Video surveillance captured the accident sequence and showed the airplane being marshalled to the gate. After the nose wheel was chocked, the ramp agent marshaling the airplane walked toward the forward cargo door located on the right side and near the front of the airplane.

Simultaneously, another ramp agent appeared walking towards the back of the airplane with an orange safety cone where she disappeared from view. A third ramp agent located near the right wing tip could be seen gesturing with his hand towards the back of the airplane.

Meanwhile, a fourth ramp agent knelt near the airplane’s nose wheel. The ramp agent from the back of the airplane reappeared and began walking away from the airplane and towards the left wing tip where she disappeared from the camera’s field of view. The marshaller could be seen backing away from the airplane’s open forward cargo door and the ramp agent from the back of the airplane reappeared walking along the leading edge of the left wing and directly in front of the number one engine. She was subsequently pulled off her feet and into the operating engine. Throughout the course of the accident, the airplane’s upper rotating beacon light appeared to be illuminated.

The ground crew reported that a safety briefing was held about 10 minutes before the airplane arrived at the gate. A second safety “huddle” was held shortly before the airplane arrived at the gate, to reiterate that the engines would remain running until ground power was connected. It was also discussed that the airplane should not be approached, and the diamond of safety cones should not be set until the engines were off, spooled down, and the airplane’s rotating beacon light had been extinguished by the flight crew.

One ramp agent located near the right wing tip stated that he observed another ramp agent approach the back of the airplane to set the rear safety cone. He observed her almost fall over from the engines exhaust while he attempted to alert her to stay back and wait for the engines to be shut down. He also stated that he observed the airplane’s upper and lower rotating beacon lights illuminated.

Another ramp agent stated that after chocking the nose wheel of the airplane, he observed another ramp agent approach the forward cargo door and he knelt to wave him off. He then observed another ramp agent about to set the safety cone at the rear of the airplane, he yelled and waved her off as the number 1 engine was still running. He observed her as she began to move away from the airplane before he turned to lower the cord for the ground power. Shortly thereafter he heard a “bang” and the engine shut down.

The American Eagle Ground Operations Manual, Revision 3 dated July 13, 2022, states in part:

To Keep Employees Alive and Aircraft Intact, You Will:

NEVER approach an aircraft to position ground equipment next to an aircraft or open cargo bin doors until the engines are shut down and the rotating beacon(s) turned off, except when conducting an approved single engine turn.

Jetblast/Ingestion Zones

Jet engines spin with powerful speed and are extremely dangerous until spooled down. The area in front of the engine is called the ingestion zone. The ingestion zone for all aircraft types is 15 feet. You must never enter the ingestion zone until the engine has spooled down. 

Spool Down

The engine must be spooled down before entering the ingestion zone. This can take between 30-60 seconds, depending on aircraft type. This applies to both wing and fuselage/tail mounted engines. You must wait until you can clearly see the individual fan blades before entering the ingestion zone.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: EMBRAER S A 
Registration: N264NN
Model/Series: ERJ 170-200 LR 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Flag carrier (121)
Operator Designator Code: SIMA

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting: 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Dallas Ft Worth, TX 
Destination: Montgomery, AL

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 4 None
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Passenger Injuries: 59 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 63 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 32.302887,-86.39117

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290. 

Ground operations employee received fatal injury after being ingested into the number one engine. 

Date: 31-DEC-22
Time: 21:20:00Z
Regis#: N264NN
Aircraft Make: EMBRAER
Aircraft Model: ERJ170
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Ground: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: STANDING (STD)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: ENVOY AIRLINES
Flight Number: ENY3408

Courtney Nichelle Edwards
September 3, 1988 ~ December 31, 2022 (age 34)

Courtney Nichelle Edwards was born on September 3, 1988 to Bobby E. Edwards and Natalie E. English, in Pensacola, Florida. In addition to graduating from Lawton Chiles High School in Tallahassee, Florida, she attended Florida A & M State University. Courtney was a Ground Handling Agent for Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines. She departed this life on Saturday, December 31, 2022.

Courtney leaves behind her father, Bobby (Debra) Edwards and her mother, Natalie E. English. Rodger L. Smith is her stepfather and was instrumental in her rearing. Courtney also leaves behind three wonderful children: Quentin (12), Alexander (9), and Natalie (8) Hockaday, as well as their father, Troy E. Hockaday. She was a devoted mother, daughter and niece. Her uncle, John (Melissa) Blanding and her three first cousins are also mourning her loss. In addition, she will be missed by numerous family members and friends.

Funeral services will be held Friday, January 13, 2023 - 1:00pm at Church of The Highland, 4255 Taylor Road, Montgomery, Alabama 36116.

Courtney Nichelle Edwards

Hi, My name is Donielle Prophete and I'm the President of the CWA (Communication Workers of America) Local 3645. Our Union Local represents the Piedmont Airline's Ground Handling agents (Ramp & Customer Service) from 24 stations in NC, SC, GA, AL, MS, FL, TN & KY. On December 31st, one of our Montgomery Alabama agents', Courtney Edwards, was fatally injured in an on-the-job accident.

Courtney was a Ground Handling agent for Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines, a loving mother of 3 kids and a wonderful daughter to her beloved mother, Natalie English of Montgomery, Alabama. Please know that this tragedy has and will affect her mother, family, friends and kids for years to come.

Our Local would like to ask you to help us raise money for her 3 beautiful kids to help cover funeral expenses, day-to-day expenses and any other expenses needed to care for the children. All proceeds raised are going directly to her mother, Natalie, for the care of Courtney's kids. We appreciate any support you could offer during this most tragic time.

The local union representing the woman who was killed in an industrial accident at Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM) on New Year's Eve is raising money for her three children left behind.

Courtney Edwards was killed on December 31 when she was "ingested" into the engine of an airplane while working for Peidmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines.

Donielle Prophete, president of the CWA (Communication Workers of America) Local 3645, started a GoFundMe page two days ago for Edwards' mother, Natalie English, to raise money for Edwards' family that includes three children. It already has raised $64,000.

The union represents Piedmont Airlines ground handling agents from 24 stations in eight states, including Alabama. 

"Courtney was a Ground Handling agent for Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines, a loving mother of 3 kids and a wonderful daughter to her beloved mother, Natalie English of Montgomery, Alabama. Please know that this tragedy has and will affect her mother, family, friends and kids for years to come.
Our Local would like to ask you to help us raise money for her 3 beautiful kids to help cover funeral expenses, day-to-day expenses and any other expenses needed to care for the children. All proceeds raised are going directly to her mother, Natalie, for the care of Courtney's kids. We appreciate any support you could offer during this most tragic time."

A worker was fatally injured on the ramp at Montgomery Regional Airport in Alabama where an American Airlines regional carrier flight was parked, the Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident that occurred where American Airlines Flight 3408, an Embraer E175, was parked at the gate after arriving from Dallas. The FAA said the airport was closed after the incident.

Two people briefed on the matter said the initial investigation indicates the employee was killed in an accident involving one of the airplane's engines that was running.

The flight was operated by Envoy Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group.

The airport said a ground crew worker for Piedmont Airlines, another American regional subsidiary, was killed but did not elaborate.

American said in a statement it was devastated by the accident, which it confirmed involved an employee of Piedmont.

"We are focused on ensuring that all involved have the support they need during this difficult time," the airline said, declining further comment on the active investigation.


  1. Some operator policies leave an engine running until the ground power cart connection is made as a way to minimize APU usage by not starting the APU after landing. APU run time and associated maintenance is reduced by the practice.

    FAA is aware of that operating reality and that a still running engine creates an ingestion hazard to ramp personnel until ground power is connected. Relying on stay out zones and training can reduce the hazard exposure, but immediate engine shutdown upon arrival at the gate with power maintained by operating the APU until ground connection would provide the greatest risk reduction to the ramp crew.

    1. APU was deferred under an authorized MEL program. Fatigue, complacency, distraction, self imposed pressures, and lack of experience, likely contributing factors in this tragedy.

    2. Why do we have an APU unit on an aircraft? Why are they on all commercial aircraft? They are there to be used - USE THEM. If they are broken FIX them. The pilots and maintentance crew were the high priced help here, not the ground staff. So blame it on the lowest price help in the room. AA is an amateur company in the safety stakes. Why doesn't AA ask the oil companies how safety is done right.

    3. APU isn’t relevant to this occurrence. She’s clearly complacent with her duty and I bet the anti collision light still on and that should made the ground crews aware that the engine was still running.

  2. Expect next incident at KLBB. Just watched SWA pull up to the gate and line chiefette (of all people) walked right in front of the No.2 about 5-seconds before captain gave the engine cut signal. Complacency shortens the lifespan.

    1. "Complacency shortens the lifespan". Yep - it's the major link in most accidents.

    2. The pilot DID not switch off the engine on arrival - there lies the problem. Pilot error again. AA SOP's are not safety orientated.

    3. Pilot error? Are you a relative of the deceased? You just trying to blamed the operator for this unfortunate accident which was clearly happened because the ground crew complacency. I know you have zero knowledge with aircraft ground operations so please don’t stir the facts.

  3. Much less chance of it happening (FOD too) with the old tail-mounted engines. Even fan jets on the Yak-42 which I have had the pleasure of flying. Bean counters figured they could save money with underslung engines. How much money is a life worth to them? R.I.P.

    1. Yes, let’s get rid of aircraft with under wing engines, that’s the real problem here. Let’s replace Boeing, Airbus, and some Embraer aircraft with Yakovalev aircraft!

      What a great idea.

    2. The damage is done. Bean counters are also trying to save pennies while delaying APU start, restricting APU running time, allowing cost saving MEL deviations and many other ludicrous penny pinching regulations but all penny wise and pound foolish. Common sense should be the top priority but unfortunately it is not common. Not only Yakolev, the Gulfstream, Embraer 145 series, Bombardier, Falcon still have tail mounted engines... although I daresay an A380 or 747 with tail mounted engines might not work so well, this accident sounds like it could have been prevented by
      1. Not allowing the flight to take place because of the defective APU,
      2. Training ground crew to avoid the situations cited by Anonymous Wednesday, January 4, 2023 at 12:43:00 AM EST

    3. For arrival of MEL-deferred APU flights, FAA/OSHA could impose a "no approach" rule for ground personnel other than the ground power hookup crew. That rule is unlikely because as Raffles and others have pointed out, NASCAR style pit crew speed ramper activity has financial advantages.

      It's a cost calculation. Companies can multiply the probability of harming a ramper due to engine ingestion over any given period of time by the typical amount of the payout to a family, then compare that figure to ops impact savings.

      Right now the cost comparison apparently doesn't compel operations to communicate a deferred APU aircraft's status to the ramp operation with the intention of not launching the full ramp crew approach until engines spool down.

    4. Raffles you know nothing of what you are talking about. Wing mounted engines are easier to service as well as offer a quieter interior cabin, specifically those in the back third of an aircraft, compared to tail mounted engines. Also, if say a center tail mounted engine has a severe issue or catastrophic failure, it can destroy the tail (as we saw with the center mounted DC-10 United Airlines crash in Iowa back in 1989). I'd rather have an engine fire with an engine hanging out on the wing any day than one inside the tail.

    5. Raffkes,
      The thing about "lets not fly planes with deferred APUs" is that firstly, we dont even know if that was a contributing factor in this accident. What if this was an error on this gal's part and would have happened regardless of APU running or not? A freak accident caused by a (lets think worst case for sake of conversation, not accusatory) tired, complacent, in a rush, unaware, anti-authority (you cant tell me not to stand by the engine, ive done it and its fine), etc underpaid overworked ramper, is not grounds for redesign of all airplanes. Nor is it grounds for changing procedure for flight crews necessarily.
      Deferral is a procedure that is meant for the airplane to do its job until it gets to a place or point in time where it can be serviced. Yeah, I'll take a GPU and huffer cart if im in no mans land (or new york for that matter) if it means i can get my passengers safely to their destination.

      Secondly, it shouldn't make a difference whether or not the APU is deferred, because one should not walk near a running jet engine intake. Assuming that the engine is shut down immediately when its parked is called complacency, and that certainly couldve been a factor in this accident. Reference the poster who witnessed a southwest ramper walk in front of a moving 737s engine.

      Thirdly, communicating a deferred APU to the ramp personnel might be a solution. Let's ananlyze potential links in the chain that might negate that. The ramp crew don't get the message, the pilots/company dont communicate it with the crew, the crew doesnt understand what affect is has on operations, the message goes to the wrong crew, not all of the crew get the message-only some.

      Frankly, redesigning aircraft and creating other issues to prevent an accident like this from happening is not an effective solution. Airplanes are designed around compromise. Tail mounted engine aircraft have different and higher level risk with respect to uncontained engine failures and fires than under wing engines.

      The safest airline would be one that doesn't fly. It's all about risk management, and the pilots cannot be the only participants. The risk involved with tail mounted engines is always there. But so is the risk of getting sucked into an under wing engine. I would say that the increased risk of an under slung engine for ramp personnel is very easy to mitigate in comparison with built in aircraft design failure potential.

  4. I managed 23 year Naval career with multiple deployments on aircraft carrier flight deck and never got sucked into intake or prop or rotor strike. The victim got complacent or was poorly trained.

    1. Please do not confuse the training you received on behalf of Uncle Sam as being the equivalent of what she receive on behalf of a crappy commuter airline. And, don't hurt your arm.

    2. Thank you for your service. This woman was raising three kids and working a minimum wage job, not sure the stresses are equivalent.

    3. Obviously Anonymous x 2 has never worked the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Thank You for your 23 years of service. The poor woman obviously wasn’t trained very well or was complacent.

    4. Not throwing rocks here but being deployed with the military is not the same as working out of your home stateside. I spent 34 years flying for the military. When deployed you don't have all the day to day distractions you have at home. Sick kids, broken water heater, flat tires, etc.,etc. I found it easier to focus on the tasks at hand while deployed. This young lady may have made a mistake but to compare her environment to your flight deck is not an apples to apples argument. I'll completely agree your flight deck was one of the most dangerous places to work. You also weren't getting three kids ready for school 15 minutes before going out on deck.

      Comparing the military flight environment to the civilian world is simply not accurate. We in the military never had profit margins on our plate. We had the good fortune of constant world class training. Military and civilian pilots/ground crew can learn a lot from each other but never think the two environments are the same, they're not. Thoughts and prayers to her family left behind.

    5. Thank you for this considerate post.

    6. Excellent comment above, Anonymous Tuesday, January 10, 2023. It's completely different, and the point you make about profit focus is perhaps the most salient.

      Prayers for her children and family.

    7. No, I haven't worked on a carrier, but as others have mentioned, being deployed gives you the advantage of being able to focus 100% on your job. These rampers are also trained on the job, versus having months of training in basic and pre-deployment. Not really comparable.

    8. I am not sure that we can blame this terrible accident on lack of training or complacency by the poor victim (as alleged by Anonymous)? To me it seems to be much more a total failure of the basic Safety Procedures/Ramp Procedures of the organziation/carrier involved (maybe also of the Airport?). Such a situation must be anticipated and the required safety measures/procedures must be in place (as this an anticipated event that is part of "normal procedures" - operating under MELs is STANDARD). A simple "what can wrong exercise" here would have helped to detect the danger BEFORE it...
      Sorry to voice my dissenting opinion here on this very sad event. RIP. What is the Safety Regulator (FAA) doing here? (unfortunately we are are already in the reactive mode, not anticipating/preventive as it should be - as the worst has already happened)... SAD!

    9. There are hundreds of thousands of commercial flight operations going on across the states. Jet engines are not ingesting baggage handlers on a regular basis, so what happened in this unique case? If it was a general operational and safety and training issue, we’d see more of this. As sad as it is, one has to look at the contributing factors of the individual to this dreadful accident.

      Proof it can happen, even to a “highly trained” green shirt. Fortunately, this guy never made it all the way down the intake, but his helmet did, which took out the engine and probably saved his life. It does happen in a nanosecond.

    11. Training questionaire #1 - What is the safe distance when around a running jet engine?

    12. My answer - Is the engine at idle or did someone on the flight deck accidentally move the throttle forward? Two very different answers.

    13. Idle speed on ERJ-175's CF34-8E turbofan engines is FADEC controlled. Cabin air conditioning gets bleed air from CF34 compressor sixth and tenth stages and electrical power from the gearbox driven alternator. FADEC manages RPM as required to support those demands while the idle thrust lever position is selected.

      For an example of inlet hazard zone distances at idle and above idle, here is "Preventing Engine Ingestion Injuries When Working Near Airplanes" for 737 powered aircraft:

  5. Replies
    1. Some jobs just can’t be dumbed down enough for all people.

    2. It is the diversity that counts, not the intelligence.

    3. For the two anonymous replies above me - you should really be ashamed of yourselves (especially #2). The woman had attended Florida A & M State University. Your "dumbed down enough" and "not the intelligence" comments should have your mothers wash your mouths with soap.

      Did she make a mistake, especially after they ground crew apparently had two briefings about not approaching the aircraft until fully shut down? Unfortunately, it looks like it.

      Why? We don't know. Absent-minded, fatigued, a sick child at home that distracted her from her duties? Maybe. Pressure from AA to "hurry up and get this thing turned around quick!"? Could be that as well.

      But safety starts from the top as well. It's always the swiss cheese model, it takes more than one hole lining up in the cheese for this to happen. What if only one guy was allowed on the ramp before shutdown (or maybe two). The one placing the chocks on the nosewheel and another one (if the first one couldn't do it) to plug external power in. Only after shutdown would the others be allowed to even get out and approach the aircraft.

      You blame this poor woman (I'm sure if the gender/ethnicity would've been different you wouldn't have made your comments) for her actions, but read the report, someone else also approached the aircraft with the engines running and opened the forward cargo door before they had any clearance to do so. They just got lucky because the door was not close enough to the engine. I'm actually wondering if their safety briefings actually happened, having two people approach the aircraft before being allowed to in disregard of the briefing sounds a bit peculiar.

      Either way, a horrible way to go, and her family and kids will never be able to enjoy New Year's Eve again. The least you two could do (and some of the other commenters in this section) is be civil and respectful human beings. And in your case, if you'll ever come back and read this, reply and apologize.

  6. Accident prevention vs accident preclusion are the choices.

    How to implement preclusion: You won't get sucked into an engine that has stopped turning before you approach it. Take an example from everyday life: Boat propellers vs people in the water. The boater with the swim platform on back can choose to shut down the motor before his skier uses the swim platform to enter the water, or leave the motor running. Approaching to pick them up, coast the last bit with motor off or leave it running. Your choice, not subject to a gate schedule or turn around time limit.

    Operated that ski boat for years using the always shut down first rule and precluded injury from propeller hazard 100% of the time. Often would read about boaters prop injuring people over the years but it wasn't ever gonna be us.

    Ground crew fatals from running engines to save APU run time will keep happening because while procedures and training can provide prevention if everybody is on their toes and attentive, it isn't preclusion.

    1. Same for small GA prop pilots. Never let a passenger as much as open the door until the engine has stopped rotating. Too many accidents with people walking into the prop when the pilot didn't shut it down.

    2. +1. It amazes me the number of people who place 100% of the blame on this poor woman. "She got complacent", "bad training", "I was Top Gun in the Navy and shot down 854 Vietnamese MiGs and I never got sucked into an engine!"

      Perhaps she did have a momentary lapse in judgement. However, have we not learned anything from all the wealth of aviation safety knowledge? Humans aren't robots, they make mistakes, we have muscle memory reflexes (thinking of the maintenace worker ingested in the 737 engine in El Paso(?) when trying to catch his hat), they get fatigued. Proper safety protocols understand that humans mess up, and mitigating mesaures help prevent tragedy when that happens ... as we all do, even Lt. Cmdr. Top Gun.

    3. "I was Top Gun in the Navy and shot down 854 Vietnamese MiGs and I never got sucked into an engine!"

      May be my lack of knowledge but did any pilot shoot down 854 Vietnamese migs? For that matter has any pilot ever shot down 854 enemy aircraft ever ?

    4. Don't let dunking on the "shot down" reference distract from what that person's comment is highlighting. A safety protocol to better manage ramp crew approach before spool down was insufficient or non existent in this case.

    5. How many MiGs were shot down in Vietnam?
      Even so, the small, quick-turning MiGs proved to be formidable opponents. American airmen shot down 196 MiGs—137 by the Air Force, 59 by the Navy and the Marine Corps—and sustained 83 losses.

    6. The .mil link below has pdf file lists of Marine Corps and Navy losses, showing way more than that ridiculous "83 losses" claim. Air Force losses are not included in those Navy history files, but the totals are understood to be in the thousands.

    7. You must have single handedly wiped out the country's whole airforce .
      I smell BS

    8. Or just don't allow anyone on the ramp (except the marshallers and chocks people) until the engines are off. No cones, no baggage handlers, nothing. Lights turn off, people are allowed to go out and touch the plane.

  7. Perhaps a focus on real training and not reliance on pointless safety vests, cones, marshaling sticks, and other crap to clutter the ramp would be a good start. For instance walking directly in front if the fan to place clutter cones is useless at best and idiotic at worst.

  8. I'm reading some comments about procedure so allow me to provide insight and educate some of you on some things, speaking in generalities.

    Envoy is a wholly owned regional with American, and please understand one thing about American: They HATE when their regionals burn unnecessary fuel, so the assertion that theyd leave the engine running to save the APU is fallacy. If you flew for a regional that flew for American they DO track how much fuel you've burned on every flight and that IS a factor on determining if you are hired if you wanted to work there.

    The engines burn ~5-600lbs an hour each, and the APU is way less than that, i estimate 60-100lbs/hr. And the APU is way less costly to maintain from a maintenance perspective (verified with a mechanic) to have the APU running vs an engine. So, I strongly disagree with the statement that they 'keep the engines running to save the APU', I think that's untrue.

    Operationally speaking, the only reason an engine would be running at the gate and not immediately shut down would be if the engines needed a cooldown, or something else that requires the engine remain on. Normally its 2 minutes cooldown after landing but if the engine is throttled up too high on taxi it requires additional 2 min cooldown period. Think the turbo on something like a turbo piper lance, that thing needs to cool after it reaches a certain temp so it doesnt cook the oil and other components. Another reason may be a deferred APU. One thing i've found is operations (the folks you call if you need personnel, catering, etc) does a poor job of communicating any abnormals with the ramp personnel, and then consider these guys are overworked understaffed and underpaid. It would be easy for me to see a complacent ramper who is tired and not paying 100% attention or has good situiational awareness, to walk into a running engine by being hasty. "i gotta put this cone in front of the engine so i can get these bags out, we gotta quick turn this plane and then we gotta do this other plane coming in...." etc.

    1. Policy.

  9. It's not the fuel burned, it's the start cycles.

  10. A horrible accident. My condolences to her children and her mother. I can't even imagine the challenges that lie ahead. Glad to see her GoFundMe site doing well. I encourage all of you to send a few dollars. I have zero skin in this, just feel horrible for three kids who lost their Mom.

    1. This has to be the most horrible accident imaginable and not only affected her children and mother, but all of the witnesses as well. This is the first time I've donated to a GoFundMe that wasn't for a police officer killed in the line of duty. I agree that everyone should give a manageable sum to this.

    2. This has to be the most easily avoidable accident of the whole year.

      It's like avoiding getting hit by a car as a pedestrian. Unless the car swerves off the road, onto the sidewalk, and then hits you, it's almost 100% avoidable with good situational awareness.

    3. That analogy isn't the most convincing. Sidewalks provide separation. Walking on a sidewalk is not the same as walking in the roadway. Being in close proximity of the running turbofan is akin to walking in the roadway. Staying back until the fan has stopped is the "on the sidewalk" equivalency.

      If your boss won't let you wait for the engine to shut down, your are being denied the use of the sidewalk and being forced to walk in the roadway.

    4. So your point is, that if your boss tells you to jump off a cliff, you have to do it?

    5. Are you saying that you have never had a momentary lapse of focus or distraction? This poor woman was raising three children, on top of working one of the most overworked, physically demanding jobs in aviation. Maybe walk a day in their shoes and see if you can keep up. What an unkind and frankly ignorant perspective. Good safety culture is more than just saying, "Keep your head on a swivel".

    6. As someone who both works on airplanes and flies them; I promise you having a wife and children or working a demanding job won't make you forget about the dangers of a running engine. Just like I won't forget to look both ways before walking across a street.

    7. The "cliff jump" comment reveals a naive mindset, unable to comprehend that the employers on time statistic metric influenced those who supervised Courtney Edwards.

      There could have been a protocol to notify the ramp crew of any deferred APU arriving jet that would be keeping an engine running till ground power was connected. There could have been a protocol to have only the ground power rampers approach in that circumstance, delaying her task for spool down.

      That didn't happen because on-time metric goals force a "nope".

      If she had wanted to wait for spool down, meeting the metric generates the reflexive "you are trained to work around aircraft, so don't delay" admonition, knowing full well that "she was trained, so it's her fault" would be the way to sell the accident as just one of those things that happens. People are reciting the "her fault" viewpoint in comments here, right on cue.

      Can't keep your ramp job if you don't comply. Metrics Rule. Fact.

    8. No excuse for accidents on the ground, almost always complete carelessness. If at any point you lose your situational awareness or become ill/stressed/fatigued; you can stop what you are doing and regain your bearings. Anyone working in hazardous conditions or around heavy machinery not at 100% physical and mental health, only put themselves and those around them in danger of possible injury or death.

      Also, never seen a company policy that requires us to approach engines without checking if they are running first. Would be in utter shock of that is the result of this investigation; so many law suites would follow, lol.

    9. Photo below shows that power connection at nose to allow engine shutdown doesn't require any ramper to approach an engine. Baggage offload crew doesn't have that separation distance. Totally preventable by having baggage crew wait for connect and shutdown.

  11. Some postulate the APU was not running already. The ERJ-175 APU is started before landing. Aircraft taxi to the gate with at least one engine active until stop and you cannot walk in front of it, mistake or not.

    A sad end for this young lady with children. Too many looking for someone/something to blame that you cannot prove.

    1. Not correct. ERJ-175 pilot here. The APU is started AFTER landing, typically before pulling into the gate. At least at my company. Can't speak for all, but i dont know a single operator that has their piliots start the APU in the air. If you have information contrary to that I'd appreciate you share it.

  12. 1. The APU was deferred.
    2. AA and their wholly owned regional airlines have gone crazy over their lack of on time performance and have discarded adherence to safety practices and procedural compliance in their push to be somewhat closer to "on time". Evidence of this is all over the AA system: cargo doors being opened while the airplane is still MOVING towards the gate; personnel inside the safety zone with engines running; ground support vehicles speeding / traveling outside designated traffic lanes / drivers using their cell phones while driving; cuts to training hours / wages / safety equipment budgets.

    They say they're trying to achieve greater schedule reliability and although that may be partially true, what they're REALLY doing is cutting costs. At some point, cutting costs in training and safety results in people getting killed. Sadly, one workplace tragedy isn't even going to move the needle for the airlines. And you think the FAA is going to do anything of substance? Put down the crack pipe - the FAA personnel that "oversee" the airlines want to WORK FOR THEM once they put in enough tenure at the FAA for that cushy government retirement. There is no way they are going to jeopardize their current cush job or their future opportunity at an airline to implement meaningful / expensive training and safety measures. It just isn't going to happen.

    I am glad to see the outpouring of support in the form of donations to the GoFundMe for this young woman's family. Many thanks to each and every person who donated.

  13. .Nobody, and I repeat nobody, knows exactly what happened because you weren't there. How do you know that the aircraft did not pull up short of the gate,and then stopped for a moment or so, then powered up again to move several feet closer to the jet bridge. Perhaps, the young lady interpreted the stopping short as the final position and then started moving into a dangerous spot. It was THE MOST tragic way to die and one can only imagine if she went in head first or body first. It's a tragic, tragic death that was avoidable but nevertheless, we must wait for the full report before we vilify her for being complacent, lack of training etc etc. She leaves behind a family who will forever grieve her loss.

    1. Video footage would provide a clear idea of what happened, but I would imagine that would not be released to the public. So you are correct in that unless we have the footage or an official statement coming from an investigation with it, we don't know exactly. But yeah, I think these comments can be helpful to provide insight into things you might not have experienced but speculation is inevitable.

  14. You think that personal proximity to engines is not covered during training? Or that somehow, due to lack of training, the ground worker was not aware of the dangers of a running engine? How many days of training does it take to teach, "not to go near a running engine"?

    At the end of the day, it's the individuals responsibility to use their situational awareness to avoid known dangers.

  15. Preclusion was possible, didn't happen. If there was no APU op capability because it was MEL deferred, then initially only the ground power cart hookup rampers should be allowed to approach the aircraft, others to wait for spool down after hookup.

    You can say a person "should have known" but minimizing hazard exposure is more reliable than relying on training alone.

    1. "You can say a person "should have known" but minimizing hazard exposure is more reliable than relying on training alone." +1. Relieved to finally read a comment that isn't villifying this woman for being human.

    2. Thank you to both of you for your common sense and civility.
      I completely agree, nobody except the chocks and external power crew should be allowed anywhere close.
      As I stated in another comment, there was at least one other ground crew that approached the aircraft and opened the forward cargo door before the all clear had been given. Do we really have two of them ignoring a safety briefing, or did that briefing never happen?

  16. Was there a painted spiral on the turbine hub that blurs when engine spins?

    1. Supposedly the aircraft in question did NOT have the spirals, which surprises me. My guess is that all of that fleet will be gaining those spirals soon.

  17. Very sad for her family. Plain fact is, one needs to be alert, attentive, responsible and on one’s game to work around aircraft. No real excuse for getting sucked into an engine, unless circumstances were exceptional. The report will reveal all.

  18. We had a simple rule (that still applies in my personal flying as well): if the anti-collision lights are on, you don't approach the aircraft without making visual contact with the pilot first and receiving clearance to approach. And even then, there were specific paths to take in order to stay clear of all the dangerous bits.
    Should be no different here - nobody comes close (maybe with the exception of the guy placing the chocks on the nose wheel) until the red lights stop blinking.

    1. My next question was going to be "What is the airline's policy concerning the ground crew actions/position while the anti-collision light is on (assume they switch it off when both/all engines shut down)?"
      This video of a previous accident miraculously survived, shows how fast it happens.

  19. A moments lack of attention in an unforgiving environment, can have tragic consequences.

  20. Not everyone is qualified to work in demanding, hazardous situations. Unfortunately, due to the dunning-kruger effect, they may not even be aware that they are putting themselves, and others, in danger. Thankfully nobody else was hurt.

    1. Raising three young kids by herself, who knows whether she was sufficiently rested for duty that day. I have two I co-parent with my wife and I'm exhausted most of the time. She was a college graduate - I'm sure she was capable of doing the job, but plenty of capable people make these and similar mistakes.

    2. Now that the NTSB prelim has added some info, we are expected to believe that she not only disregarded her training, but also disregarded not one, but two cautionary briefings specifically warning of the hazard for this aircraft's arrival (safety briefing plus the huddle).

      AND, so did others in her crew, with multiple people approaching before they should, disregarding the claimed instructions they were twice advised of right before this aircraft arrived.....

      Is the brief+huddle story really true? Is it possible that she is being victimized a second time by the version of events that was told to the investigators?

    3. Those were my thoughts as well. Two people ignoring two safety briefings? Difficult to accept that.
      And it is very easy for a fatigued person to make a mistake. I forgot the exact numbers, but not sleeping for 24 hours is equivalent to ingesting a few alcoholic drinks. It doesn't take much fatigue for a momentary lapse of judgement, especially if those briefs never happened.
      Why were these people even allowed to approach the aircraft. Only the chocks and external power crew should've been outside before shutdown.

  21. Several individuals (after the safety briefing and huddle made them aware of the incoming aircraft's circumstances) approached in disregard of the what the safety briefing and huddle instructed?

    Investigators would have to wonder if the safety briefing story was "what we need to say we did". Doesn't make sense to believe the brief took place when multiple people disregard what the brief, huddle and training advised.

    1. Agree 100%. Seems the “huddle” took place after the accident seeing how all of the ground crew approached the aircraft in some fashion.

    2. Yeah, not buying the brief and huddle story. Not with at least two of them approaching the aircraft before they were supposed to.

  22. Pilot error pure and simple. Shut down engines immediately you stop the plane at its destination. Cowboys fly for American Airlines or the Dallas Cowboys as they are known in the industry.

    1. The NTSB report describes what was planned and briefed, wasn't a cowboy pilot problem.

    2. Engines require a 2 min cool down period. So, NOT shutdown immediately at the gate necessarily. This was coordinated with ground crew and they were advised. Can you read? Curious what might your IQ be?

    3. Sounds like someone didn't get their AA application accepted...
      Pilots kept the engine running waiting for the external power to be plugged in first, so they could keep systems running since their APU was inoperative.

  23. Victim's attorney can test that "brief & huddle" story. Just advise the airline you will put every one of the rampers and their ramp lead on the stand and ask if the brief and huddle actually happened.

    Also can ask if the person who got knocked down by exhaust thrust or any of the others were reprimanded for not following instructions or the situation was glossed over. If OSHA is capable of doing a proper investigation, this incident certainly needs looking at.

    1. The ramp agent knocked down by the exhaust was the one who was killed.

    2. Nope, was a different person in the exhaust:
      "One ramp agent located near the right wing tip stated that he observed another ramp agent approach the back of the airplane to set the rear safety cone. He observed her almost fall over from the engines exhaust while he attempted to alert her to stay back and wait for the engines to be shut down."

    3. I think that was her - "the ramp agent from the back of the airplane reappeared walking along the leading edge of the left wing and directly in front of the number one engine"

    4. Can't tell from the prelim's sloppy writing of "another saw another", so maybe only one went to the rear and then went forward and got sucked in. Wouldn't expect that person to remain unaware of the running engine right after almost falling over from rearside thrust, though.

      When NTSB doesn't bother to give a total # of who was on the ramp and number the various "anothers" as the story goes along, it doesn't produce a very coherent prelim report.

  24. Ramp crew briefed right before arrival that both engines would be running, stay clear....beacon on... baggage door opened anyway....someone ( maybe victim ) almost knocked over by exhaust...."victim" walks in front of running engine.
    On video and in NTSB report. This doesn't really require an investigation. Or, any more than has happened. Many situations do not offer a second chance, that won't change, fussing and blaming others won't change it.
    It is sad, poor kids.

    1. The "brief/huddle story" being fabricated would require all the employees to be complicit. I don't think that is very likely.
      The APU being inop only required one person to plug in ground power on the nose prior to engine shutdown, which may have been completed anyway prior to the 2 minute mandatory cool down.
      The running engines are loud enough to require hearing protection, the beacon was flashing, verified by video.
      I have no doubt the rampers were encouraged to be expedient, but don't believe at all that they were told to walk, or open a baggage door, in front of a running engine. A pair of mittens falling out of the door and entering the engine might require a lot of expensive labor if they went through the core..the compressor would probably shred them, but the debris might melt and stick to the exterior of the combustion chamber....nobody has any interest in ANY fod passing through the engine, let alone a person.
      A/P mech and charter pilot here. I have done a lot of maintenance on recips, turboprops, and jets, sometimes while they are running. The hazards are so obvious, so plain to see and hear, that it doesn't really qualify as scary, you just pay attention and stay away. It is simply not confusing or tricky in any way.

    2. Logic test:
      A. Several people all disregard brief/huddle/training.
      B. Rampers avoid trouble by agreeing on the right story to tell.
      Interpretive information:
      1. "Truth can't help her now"
      2. The other person pushed by exhaust + the victim makes two who didn't expect or notice the hazards "so obvious to see and hear".

      Result: Not a strong case for presuming "A" is true.

    3. Do a bunch of adults whose job it is to work around operating jet and turboprop aircraft really need to be told yet again that they are in fact dangerous? Maybe it changed over the weekend? Not a bad idea to remind people, but if I walk into traffic, then say it was because nobody "briefed" me on the risks right beforehand....?
      Should chief pilot send memo daily to remind crews to not fly into terrain, or each other? Or avoid fuel exhaustion? That one is really tricky- requires math to avoid it. A daily briefing might preclude future engine outs due to that!
      This is very sad, but appears to be a simple mistake with no second chance, not the result of some conspiracy, greed, or pilot error.

    4. ^ Approached immediately after twice briefed? Not if briefed.
      Irrelevant fuel calc, terrain memos and walking in traffic comparisons reveals a writer trying desperately to deflect from the likely circumstance.

    5. I think the discussion over the briefing is useless, and the briefing itself (Whether it happened or not) is mostly a dog and pony show, as it would be in the other examples given. Employees whose sole job is working around operating aircraft should be aware enough of the obvious hazards, or they should work elsewhere. Preferably somewhere they don't have to drive to, because they might not get a pre-trip warning about the hazards involved in doing so. Driving involves more decision making, and is more complex, than not walking in front of a running jet engine. And, sadly kills 50 or 60 thousand people per year in this country alone, mostly by their own fault also.
      Reminds me...I wonder if any texts were sent or received from her phone in the moment before this accident? So many people staring at phones rather than out the windshield. It happens at work , too.

    6. Same commenter again. 3 friends of mine died in two aircraft crashes, after we had all finished flight instructing and moved on. Most information available points to them having made mistakes. None of the rest of us, talking about it, wasted time trying to convince ourselves that they were victims. They made mistakes, which were fatal. Others died with them, eight in total for the two accidents. One dog, too. Making them victims, or trying to- its dishonest, doesn't help them a bit, and encourages others to think that someone else is responsible for their safety. Lose, lose, and lose. None of those things are any good. I think my friends would say "stop all the BS, I made a mistake" if such talk happened and they could respond. Maybe Courtney was a sensible person and would do the same.
      (No, not great stats for a small group of ex instructors.)

    7. On a ramp full of planes, it might be hard to figure out if the one in front of you still has a running engine. Especially if wearing hearing protection.
      Routine, complacency, fatigue, maybe a briefing that didn't happen?
      Easy fix would've been to not have any of them out on the ramp until airplane was chocked and with external power connected, engines shut down.

    8. ^ More irrelevant comparisons... She wasn't on a road trip or piloting an aircraft.

      Construct an applicable analogy for being specifically told twice that unlike most arrivals, "This one won't shut down the engine right away, so don't approach until the rotating beacon is off".

      Nobody should be expected to unquestioningly believe that several people disregarded those instructions that were freshly and specifically given.

      One person, perhaps. Not several. Looks like CYA.

  25. The APU to GPU time is a non issue in this case. This aircraft manual requires a mandatory 2 minute cool down after landing before shutdown. In large airports this cool down is accomplish during taxi to the gate. But in smaller airports like Montgomery with short taxi time the mandatory 2 minute cool down must be completed at the gate. This is routine and not unusual.

  26. Right out of the manual. Also known by anyone who works in the industry. Nothing more to say:

    "You must wait until you can clearly see the individual fan blades before entering the ingestion zone."

    Anyone disregarding this for any reason does not care about their life or are not in the right frame of mind. The IMSAFE checklist is not just for pilots. Anyone working in hazardous environments, operating heavy machinery or even driving a car should use that checklist before proceeding.

    Just glad she didn't get someone else injured.

  27. I find some of the armchair commentary incomprehensible.

    This, although tragic, was an aviation accident incurred by "Envoy Air," which is American. This lady was born the year I became a professional pilot. I started flight training at American in 1991. Back then, they were still "cowboys," just like the rest of the airline industry, of which they were/are still the leader.

    Just as Crashbus, um, Scarebus, correction, Airbus aircraft cause loss of flying skills, complacency, etc...,ramp personnel are also human's subject to the same errors as the snot-nosed punks on today's flight decks - including dinosaurs like me.

    This lady may have been fatigued, which is a common cause of many fatal aviation accidents. Maybe she had a hangover or was otherwise impaired, which is also a cause of some accidents. Maybe she just made a mistake like every human on Earth does every, single, day. Seems as if I read one comment that implied suicide? Anything is possible and you can bet the NTSB will discover the primary and contributing causes for this adult, female mother's loss of life. Will the FAA employ any recommendations by the NTSB? That is yet to be seen.

    I've known several "perfect" pilots that have lost their lives, as well as other "perfect" humans that did the same. One thing is for sure. Somewhere a rule or "regulation" was busted here.

  28. From the description of it and everything else it was routine and the ground personal is to be as professional and knowledgeable. I see no negligence in this case just carelessness where someone walked too close to the ingestion zone. As an A&P we have seminars where we talk about such incidents and to boot shown pictures of what happens when someone is ingested in an engine... needless to say not much is left but a pink trail behind the engine.

  29. I agree with the comment above that much of the armchair commentary is incomprehensible.

    We are told in the 6th paragraph of the report above that the ground crew had 2 briefings regarding the engines would be running until the ground power was connected. The first briefing was 10 minutes before the the aircraft arrived at the gate, and then there was a second "huddle" of the ground crew on the ramp a few minutes before the airplane arrived at the gate where it was again "discussed that the airplane should not be approached, and the diamond of safety cones should not be set until the engines were off, spooled down, and the airplane’s rotating beacon light had been extinguished by the flight crew."

    With two such briefings right before the arrival that the ground crew should not approach the aircraft until engine shutdown and the beacon was turned off I believe that the tragedy was unfortunately human error. We do not know the stresses in the person's life that allowed her to walk in front of the operating engine, but all of us know that mistakes like that do happen to human beings from time to time. May she rest in peace, and may we observers and commentators allow some grace here.

    1. Two people (at least) approaching the aircraft before engine shutdown despite two briefings telling them not to?
      My suspicion is that those briefs never happened and it's all CYA. I would absolutely have all these guys (and especially the supervisor and manager) cross-examined and potentially have them take a polygraph test.

  30. Not sure why the briefing matters. Their safety manual clearly states:

    "You must wait until you can clearly see the individual fan blades before entering the ingestion zone."

    Walking up to an engine without seeing if it is running first is the same as walking out onto the street without looking both ways. If you need a briefing to cross the road; you should probably get a desk job. Only putting other people in danger...

    1. What's at issue isn't whether the crew needed to be told.

      Multiple people allegedly disregarded a specific briefing given as operational protocol right before an arrival that would have a delayed engine shutdown. If the briefing was actually given, then the others who also disregarded the instructions should definitely look for a desk job somewhere.