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NTSB Identification: WPR09LA211
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of Mesa Airlines (D.B.A. Air Shuttle)
Accident occurred Monday, April 20, 2009 in Phoenix, AZ
Aircraft: DE HAVILLAND DHC-8, registration: N449YV
Injuries: 17 Uninjured.
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.
On April 20, 2009, at 1738 hours mountain standard time, a Dehavilland DHC-8-202, N449YV, struck a ground power unit (GPU) with the right propeller while taxiing to parking at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Phoenix, Arizona. Mesa Airlines operated the flight as Air Shuttle flight 2957 under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 as a scheduled passenger service flight. The captain, first officer, flight attendant, and 14 passengers were not injured; there were no ground injuries. The airplane sustained structural damage to the right wing, engine, and fuselage, along with damage to the left engines' propeller blades. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the international flight that departed the General Jose Maria Yanez International Airport (GYM), Guaymas, Mexico at 1540. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed.
According to PHX airport operations personnel, the airplane was being ground marshaled to gate B24, with the aid of a marshaller and wing walkers. As the airplane reached its final stopping point, the right propeller struck the GPU.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors reported that the GPU was about 7 feet aft of the required parking spot for the GPU. After the propeller blades struck the GPU, it pulled it back toward the fuselage.
Those planes are designed with blade separation in mind. The blades themselves are quite light weight, and while it doesn't show well in the picture, the fuselage is reinforced in the area likely to be damaged by a separated blade and shedding ice. Some damage is inevitable, but the passengers are protected against the most likely scenarios, this one included.