It was just before sunset
on September 8, 1994 as USAir flight 427
began it's approach into Pittsburgh. The
flight had left Chicago earlier with
Captain Peter Germano and First Officer
Chuck Emmett at the controls. Along with
three flight attendants, there were 127
passengers on board the 737. 427 was
cleared to descend to 6,000ft to initiate
it's approach to runway 28.
The aircraft continued to descend however,
passing through 5,300ft. The aircraft then
began to roll to the left out of control.
It continue to roll over until it plunged
into a wooded area outside the airport at
nearly 300kts, killing all aboard.
......The crash of USAir 427 immediately
raised red flags throughout the aviation
world because of it's striking resemblance
to the crash of United 585 three and a
half years earlier.
It was clear at the time of the accident,
though darkness was falling on Pittsburgh.
There were no reports of any dangerous
weather phenomena in the area of the
airport. 427 had been following a 727 on
the approach, trailing it by about four
miles. Recovery of the FDR showed that 427
had encountered the wake turbulence of the
trijet, but no abnormal forces were
recorded. In an effort to confirm this,
Boeing and USAir ran a study, flying a
USAir 737 into the wake turbulence of
another jet over 300 times. The USAir
pilot reported that he never encountered
any control upsets, but Boeing pilots
reported that there could be sharp upsets
of the aircraft in some encounters with
These upsets still did
not seem to be of the magnitude that would
cause a total control loss and subsequent
crash. It was then thought that a partial
control upset, together with poor lighting
conditions and a possible lackadaisical
attitude on the part of the flight crew
could result in the crash. There was
speculation about the concentration of the
crew on the approach, but nothing could be
proven. Then, as with 585, the
investigation turned to rudder anomalies.
No flight control anomalies could be
found, but reports continued to come in
about other rudder difficulties on the
737. Together with the crash of 585, the
crash of 427 remains at the forefront of
investigation and speculation.