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Thread: Final report: Rejected take-off after V1 and overrun accident

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Default Final report: Rejected take-off after V1 and overrun accident

    Ameristar MD83 at Detroit on Mar 8th 2017, overran runway after rejected takeoff due to elevator malfunction

    http://avherald.com/h?article=4a5ecf6a&opt=2048


    I don't know if there was an original thread for this accident, but now the final report is out.

    Summary: MD-82 with jammed right elevator in the full-down position. V1, Vr, pilot pulls back, nothing happens, pulls back some more, nothing happens, and calls RTO 12 seconds past V1, when it was physically impossible to stop on the runway that they ended up overrunning by more than . Pilot flying was a captain in the left seat, in the right seat we had a check airman giving type differences instruction (the left seat pilot was now to the MD-80, but not to the DC-9), so the right-seat pilot who was pilot monitoring was the PIC. They did do a walkaround and saw the right hand elevator in the full down position, and they did perform a "controls free" before take-off which went normal. That is because the elevators of the DC-9 family are free-floating and mechanically independent both from the control column and one from the other. When you move the control column what moves back there are some small tabs in the trailing edge of the elevators that generate the aerodynamic force that moves the elevator. And the tabs themselves were working properly.

    Question for Dummy Pilot if he happens to be around: Is there any indication in the cockpit of the actual position of the control surfaces in the MD-80? (the controls should quickly float to their equilibrium position as soon as the airplane gains a little bit of airspeed, so control position check say the 80 kts call may detect a control surface that is jammed way off its neutral position).

    Great reaction by the captain who was not the PIC, great teamwork by the check airman who was pretending to be an FO. These are the cases where you abort after V1. The plane will not fly and we are going to crash, so it's better to doing while braking rather than while accelerating. And everybody walked away (except the plane).

    Now, had the pilot decided to insist with the take-off and everybody died when the airplane hit God knows what at 200 kts, we could not have blamed him either. These are situation where the pilot just doesn't know what's going on and what's the safest course of action. It could be just that the plane was nose heavy and they set the trim for an tail heavy CG by mistake, or that the plane was heavier that they considered when they calculated Vr, or things like that, and he might have decided that it would fly if he waited a little bit longer and gained a little bit more of speed.

    In the end, the pilot had the right gout, the check airman (who wanted to not-abort after V1) had the right composure to play his role and resist his initial impulse to take over the controls, and once the decision to abort the take-off was taken, it was executed flawlessly and everybody lived. A rare combination of bad luck, good got feeling decision, good luck, a perfect performance by the crew, a runway longer than needed, and a nice overrun area. This could have gone much worse in so many ways.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    Now, had the pilot decided to insist with the take-off and everybody died when the airplane hit God knows what at 200 kts, we could not have blamed him either. These are situation where the pilot just doesn't know what's going on and what's the safest course of action. It could be just that the plane was nose heavy and they set the trim for an tail heavy CG by mistake, or that the plane was heavier that they considered when they calculated Vr, or things like that, and he might have decided that it would fly if he waited a little bit longer and gained a little bit more of speed.
    I don't know. I think it might be better to set it down to Vr + 5kts or so, and then consider it a brick and hit the brakes. I realize it's a trade-off between the risks of RTO after V1 vs the probability of getting airborne, but it's not a rolling casino and if you have the runway to stop and the thing still isn't flying at Vr + 5, the assurances of survival are probably better with RTO.

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Did I read AvHerald right that the elevator was getting "beaten around" by winds and this caused the jam?

    There was also a crazy crash where I think a wing folded up after the spar was fatigued because the airline parked in a place where they got a fair amount if jet "blast" which resulted in wing wiggling/stress/etc?

    Also creeped out as I see MD-80 guys routinely crank the little aileron tabs and the big spoileries in the somewhat classic, "Controls free" check....did not (nor could it) do much good here.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE View Post
    Did I read AvHerald right that the elevator was getting "beaten around" by winds and this caused the jam?
    Actually, yes it was the NTSB. Don't blame the mailman.

    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    Don't blame the mailman.
    Blaming someone's reading comprehension after a quick scan...no issues with AH transcription.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE View Post
    Blaming someone's reading comprehension after a quick scan...no issues with AH transcription.
    Beaten around resulting in overextension and jam. The wind gusts were below the posted acceptable values. They might have to update the guidance on that.

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