Cessna 208B Collides with C172 after Distraction

Corporate Air C208 N926FE Collides with C172 N274MM in Honolulu after Distraction

On 31 October 2019 Cessna 208B N926FE, owned by Federal Express (FedEx) and operated under Part 135 by Corporate Air, collided with private Cessna 172 N274MM on the ground at Daniel K Inouye International Airport (HNL) Honolulu, Hawaii. The Cessna 208 sustained minor damage and the Cessna 172 was substantially damages.  The occupants were uninjured.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) explain in their safety investigation report (published on 5 May 2021) that:

The pilot of N926FE [aged 68, who had 3500 flight hours, 940 on type] reported that, during taxi to the runway for departure, his airplane was number two on taxiway “C” Charlie holding for runway 26R. He positioned approximately 50 feet behind N274MM (the number one holding airplane for departure), the condition lever was set at low idle and the power lever was set all the way aft at idle.

He reported he set the parking brake…

…before diverting his attention from outside of the airplane to inside of the cockpit. While his attention was inside of the airplane, he was startled by a noise and vibration. He looked up and realized his airplane had taxied into N274MM.

n926fe c208 1

He then shut his airplane down, radioed the control tower to report the collision, and all occupants exited their airplanes.

N274MM sustained substantial damage to the left horizontal stabilizer and elevator, the vertical stabilizer and rudder, and left flap.

Damage to C172 N274MM after Collision by C208 N926FE at Honolulu, Hawaii (Credit: Airport Manager via NTSB)

Damage to C172 N274MM after Collision by C208 N926FE at Honolulu, Hawaii (Credit: Airport Manager via NTSB)

A postaccident examination of N926FE by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane braking system that would have precluded normal operation.

NTSB Analysis

Given the absence of any mechanical issues with the Cessna 208B’s brake system, it is likely the pilot inadvertently failed to set the parking brake before diverting his attention inside the airplane, and the airplane subsequently collided with the airplane ahead.

The NTSB determined the Probable Cause to be:

The pilot of the Cessna’s [sic] failure to set the parking brake before diverting his attention inside the airplane, which resulted in his airplane colliding with the airplane ahead of it on the taxiway.

Safety Resources

Past Aerossurance articles on the C208 include:

Other articles include:

And from Alaska:

On human factors:

…and our review of The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error by Sidney Dekker presented to the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS): The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error – A Review

The UK CAA has issued this infographic on distraction:

caa distractions


Aerossurance has extensive air safety, operations, SAR, airworthiness, human factors, aviation regulation and safety analysis experience.  For practical aviation advice you can trust, contact us at: enquiries@aerossurance.com