Air Florida Flight 90

Air Florida Flight 90
Wreckage of Air Florida Flight 90 being removed from the Potomac River
Wreckage of Air Florida Flight 90 being removed from the Potomac River

Accident summary
Date 13 January 1982
Type : atmospheric icing,
pilot error
Location : Washington D.C.
Passengers : 74
Crew : 5
Fatalities : 78 (including 4 on ground))
Survivors : 5
Aircraft involved : Boeing 737-200
Operator : Air Florida
IATA flight No.: QH90
ICAO flight No.: FLA90
Call sign: PALM 90
Aircraft registration : N62AF
Flight origin : Washington National Airport
Stopover: Tampa International Airport
Destination : Fort Lauderdale

On 13 January 1982 a Boeing 737-200 belonging to Air Florida and operating Air Florida Flight 90, a scheduled domestic passenger service from Washington National Airport to Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport with a stopover at Tampa International Airport crashed into the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River.

The National Transportation Safety Board - (NTSB) determined that the cause of the accident was pilot error. The pilots had little experience flying in winter conditions and failed to switch on the engines' internal ice protection systems, used reverse thrust in a snowstorm prior to takeoff. Furthermore they failed to abort the takeoff even after detecting a power problem while taxiing and visually identifying ice and snow buildup on the wings.


The aircraft was originally purchased by United Airlines in 1969 and flown with the registration number of N9050U. In 1980 it was sold to Air Florida.



Search and recovery

Passengers and crew




Further reading

Aircraft accidents caused by pilot error
Aircraft accidents caused by atmospheric icing
List of aviation accidents by year

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