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the documents included the local 1600 sequence report obtained from United Air Lines, the 1453 company weather warning, the flight plan release form and the 1545 dispatch release message. Not included were the 1415 aviation severe weather forecast, the 1430 SIGMET, or the 1445 amended Rochester terminal forecast. There is no evidence that the captain examined the documents, but there is testimony that they were not brought to his attention. No weather documents were attached to the flight plan release form for Flight 112 and there were no file copies of the dispatch documents retained at Rochester.
Continuing the chronology of events, the stewardess of Flight 112 boarded the aircraft at approximately 1615. In recounting her observation of weather conditions at that time, she indicated that it was windy but there was no lightning, hail, or rain. Shortly after 1630, the flight crew boarded the aircraft. At approximately 1640, the passengers boarded the aircraft. It was not raining at that time but a storm was approaching. Typical comments from passengers at the hearing were "There was a stiff breeze blowing...there was thunder and lightning..." Ground witnesses agreed. The stewardess stated "While the agent was changing his papers I heard thunder. I made some motion to him that it was thundering so loud." Corroboration of meteorological conditions was supplied by Weather Bureau records which indicated that the Rochester Weather Observer heard thunder at 1640, and recorded the beginning of a thunderstorm at that time.
The engines of Flight 112 were started about the time the last passenger boarded the aircraft. The Customer Service Agent and the stewardess observed the captain occupying the right seat in the pilot's compartment Before departing from the gate at 1645, Flight 112 established radio contact with the FAA Rochester Tower Ground Controller who cleared the aircraft to runway 28
The Customer Service Agent testified "As the flight left the gate, from the north and northwest you could see a quite voluminous buildup and it was quite dark. As the flight started to roll, a little rain was hitting the ramp." He said "I don't recollect any (lightning) until he was out on the taxiway and in a run-up position and I believe there was some lightning then."
As flight 112 taxied out, American 453 commenced a takeoff on runway 28. The departure clearance given the American flight to avoid the approaching storm was initiated by the radar departure controller.
At approximately 1646, the Rochester Ground Controller transmitted an air traffic control clearance to Flight 112 and instructed the flight to "Maintain departure heading for vectors to Victor 34." The clearance was acknowledged.
- ↑ At last minute substitution of a revenue passenger was made to replace a nonrevenue passenger already on board the aircraft.
- ↑ The Mohawk Airlines Operations Manual Page 13 05:01 relative to placing the first officer in the left seat states "Captains must have a minimum of 250 hours command time in that aircraft type. First Officers must have 24 active months service as a pilot with Mohawk Airlines and 900 total hours in Mohawk Convairs." This requirement also applied to Martin 404 aircraft according to testimony of company officials.
- ↑ Runway 28 has a concrete surface and is 5,500 feet long and 150 feet wide