Emery Worldwide Flight 17: A Routine Plane Takeoff Quickly Turns into a Disaster

Emery Worldwide Flight 17: A Routine Plane Takeoff Quickly Turns into a Disaster

It was a routine takeoff for Emery Worldwide Flight 17, a domestic cargo plane making its way to Ohio, on February 16, 2000. Seconds later, that illusion was shattered as the plane began to violently tilt and rotate.

Emery Worldwide Flight 17 was a regularly scheduled domestic cargo flight, flying from Reno to Dayton with an intermediate stopover at Rancho Cordova.

On February 16, 2000, the DC-8 crashed onto a salvage yard shortly after taking off from Sacramento Mather Airport, killing all 3 crew members on board.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed that during the aircraft’s rotation, a control rod to the right elevator control tab detached, causing a loss of pitch control. The crew attempted unsuccessfully to return to Mather airport.

The NTSB further found that an incorrect maintenance procedure, which was implemented by Emery Worldwide, introduced an incorrect torque-loading on the bolts which were supposed to connect the control rod

After completing the taxi checklist, the crew members initiated the before take-off checklist at around 19:47 local time. They then advised Sacramento Tower that they were going to initiate the take off from runway 22L. The crew members were later cleared for take off. The crew applied a continuous nose down input during the take-off roll.

As the aircraft reached its V1 speed, the captain called “rotate”. The pitch then increased from 0.2 to 5.3 degrees. According to the data from the control column, the crew at the time were still applying forward movement to the control column (nose down input), but somehow the nose raised upwards. Data from the aircraft indicated that the crew added more force to the control column, from 14.5 to 17.4 degrees. The aircraft reached V2 and began to lift off.

Immediately after the aircraft lifted off from the runway, the aircraft entered a left turn and the first officer quickly stated that Flight 17 would like to return to Sacramento. The engine’s rpm began to decrease and the stick shaker activated for the first time. The Captain declared emergency on Flight 17, believing a load shift had occurred. The aircraft began to move erratically, with the elevator deflection and the bank angle began to decrease and increase. The aircraft began to descend.

The captain repeated the emergency declaration as the engine’s rpm began to increase. At the time, the aircraft was descending with a steepening bank of 11 degrees. The crew then added power and the aircraft began to climb again. As the aircraft continued to climb, the bank angle began to increase to the left. The captain then contacted Sacramento Tower, stating that Flight 17 “has an extreme problem.”

The aircraft then continued to fly in a northwesterly heading. The crew was trying to stabilize the aircraft as it began to sway to the left and to the right. The Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) then started to sound. At 19:51, the aircraft’s left wing contacted a concrete and steel support column for an overhang attached to a two-story building, located adjacent to the southeast edge of the salvage yard. The DC-8 then crashed onto the salvage yard, striking hundreds of cars and subsequently burst into flames. All 3 crew members on board were killed.

Article info Source: en.wikipedia.org

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