Modern jet engines take advantage of the turbine’s ability to convert fluid movements to mechanical energy, and many use complex electronic fuel balancing systems to ensure that these turbine engines function…
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One type of turbine engine error that may occur is fuel starvation. This type of failure occurred in the August 2004 crash of the Air Tahoma Flight 185, in which the Convair 580 twin engine turboprop was destroyed on impact only one mile short of the runway, resulting in the death of the first-officer and damage to surrounding property (Aircraft Accident Report). The history and details of the Air Tahoma Flight 185 crash, the cause of the accident, and the relevance to current safety issues are each important in learning from this crash and taking preventative measures against this type of incident in the future.
Air Tahoma, a spin-off from Cool Air, Inc., was a Columbus based father-son operated company that was looking to grow and expand its current fleet of thirteen turboprops. Like many small and ambitious companies before them, there is some speculation that in the hurry to expand critical safety checkpoints may have been relaxed. The company had recently contracted with DHL as freight parcel delivery company, and Flight 185 was scheduled for a routine roundtrip flight from Memphis to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport when the crash occurred (Pilcher, 2004). The company had previously had several run-ins with federal safety inspectors before the crash, as records show, including citations for maintenance problems three times in the previous four years, including one resulting in a $5000 settlement for problems in providing an airworthy aircraft by the company (Pilcher, 2004).
Air Tahoma operated two types of twin turboprop planes, the Convair 240 and the Convair 580 (Pilcher, 2004). Unlike the much larger much larger Boeing 727s, DC-8s and Airbus 300s operated by the main local carrier for DHL at the time, Astar Air Cargo, these are small aircraft capable of holding only fifty-six passengers, but more commonly used for transport (Frawley, 1998). These aircraft are converted from the original
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