January 1982 - Air Florida
Air Florida Flight 90 was scheduled to leave Washington National Airport
at 14.15h EST for a flight to Fort Lauderdale International Airport,
FL, with an intermediate stop at the Tampa, FL. The aircraft had arrived
at gate 12 as Flight 95 from Miami, FL, at 13.29h. Because of snowfall,
the airport was closed for snow removal from 13.38h to 14.53h. At about
14.20h maintenance personnel began de-icing the left side of the fuselage
with de-icing fluid Type II because the captain wanted to start the
de-icing just before the airport was scheduled to reopen (at 14.30h)
so that he could get in line for departure. Fluid had been applied to
an area of about 10 feet when the captain terminated the operation because
the airport was not going to reopen at 14.30h.
Between 14.45h and 14.50h, the captain requested that the de-icing
operation be resumed. The left side of the aircraft was de-iced first.
No covers or plugs were installed over the engines or airframe openings
during de-icing operations. At 15.15h, the aircraft was closed up and
the jet way was retracted and the crew received push-back clearance
A combination of ice, snow, and glycol on the ramp and a slight incline
prevented the tug, which was not equipped with chains, from moving the
aircraft. Then, contrary to flight manual guidance, the flight crew
used reverse thrust in an attempt to move the aircraft from the ramp.
This resulted in blowing snow which might have adhered to the aircraft.
This didn't help either, so the tug was replaced and pushback was done
at 15.35h. The aircraft finally taxied to runway 36 at 15.38h.
Although contrary to flight manual guidance, the crew attempted to
deice the aircraft by intentionally positioning the aircraft near the
exhaust of the aircraft ahead in line (a New York Air DC-9). This may
have contributed to the adherence of ice on the wing leading edges and
to the blocking of the engine's Pt2 probes. At 15.57:42h, after the
New York Air aircraft was cleared for takeoff, the captain and first
officer proceeded to accomplish the pre-takeoff checklist, including
verification of the takeoff engine pressure ratio (EPR) setting of 2.04
and indicated airspeed bug settings. Takeoff clearance was received
at 15.58h. Although the first officer expressed concern that something
was 'not right' to the captain four times during the takeoff, the captain
took no action to reject the takeoff. The aircraft accelerated at a
lower-than-normal rate during takeoff, requiring 45 seconds and nearly
5,400 feet of runway, 15 seconds and nearly 2,000 feet more than normal,
to reach lift-off speed. The aircraft initially achieved a climb, but
failed to accelerate after lift-off. The aircraft's stall warning stick
shaker activated almost immediately after lift-off and continued until
impact. The aircraft encountered stall buffet and descended to impact
at a high angle of attack. At about 16.01h, the aircraft struck the
heavily congested northbound span of the 14th Street Bridge and plunged
into the ice-covered Potomac River. It came to rest on the west end
of the bridge 0.75Nm from the departure end of runway 36. When the aircraft
struck the bridge, it struck six occupied automobiles and a boom truck
before tearing away a 41-foot section of the bridge wall and 97 feet
of the bridge railings.
the full NTSB report
Transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)
15:59:16 CAM-1 Given.
15:59:16 CAM-2 Bleeds?
15:59:17 CAM-1 They're off.
15:59:18 CAM-2 Strobes, external lights.
15:59:18 CAM-1 On.
15:59:19 CAM-2 Anti-skid?
15:59:19 CAM-1 On.
15:59:21 CAM-2 Transponder?
15:59:21 CAM-1 On.
15:59:24 TWR Palm 90 cleared for takeoff.
15:59:28 TWR No delay on departure if you will, traffic's two and a
half out for the runway.
15:59:32 CAM-1 Okay, your throttles.
15:59:35 [SOUND OF ENGINE SPOOLUP]
15:59:49 CAM-1 Holler if you need the wipers.
15:59:51 CAM-1 It's spooled. Real cold, real cold.
15:59:58 CAM-2 God, look at that thing. That don't seem right, does
it? Uh, that's not right.
16:00:09 CAM-1 Yes it is, there's eighty.
16:00:10 CAM-2 Naw, I don't think that's right. Ah, maybe it is.
16:00:21 CAM-1 Hundred and twenty.
16:00:23 CAM-2 I don't know
16:00:31 CAM-1 Vee-one. Easy, vee-two.
16:00:39 [SOUND OF STICKSHAKER STARTS AND CONTINUES UNTIL IMPACT]
16:00:41 TWR Palm 90 contact departure control.
16:00:45 CAM-1 Forward, forward, easy. We only want five hundred.
16:00:48 CAM-1 Come on forward....forward, just barely climb.
16:00:59 CAM-1 Stalling, we're falling!
16:01:00 CAM-2 Larry, we're going down, Larry....
16:01:01 CAM-1 I know it.
16:01:01 [SOUND OF IMPACT]
[End of Recording]
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