Page:CAB Accident Report, Mohawk Airlines Flight 112.pdf/6

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As the aircraft neared the takeoff runway it was braked to a stop. Passengers stated that it was raining hard; that hail was hitting the aircraft; the windshield wipers were on; that there was no engine runup prior to takeoff, and that the wind was strong and gusty. The local weather observer noted wind gusts of 40 knots at 1647.

A groundwitness in an automobile on the airport service road stated, "As I approached runway 28 I saw the Mohawk flight moving along the taxi strip toward the end of 28. The plane came to a halt at the end of the strip and stood for approximately 30 seconds. I stopped my car to observe the flight as the weather looked very bad to the north of runway 28. To the southwest and east, the sky was overcast, but light with the ceiling possibly 3,000 feet. Overhead it looked like the underside of a thunderhead - very black and ominous. During the above period it was raining quite hard."

At approximately 1648, a crew member advised the tower that Flight 112 was ready for takeoff. The local controller coordinated the release with the radar departure controller and then cleared the flight for takeoff. The crew advised the tower that they "would like to make a left turn out as soon as possible to avoid those thunderstorms approaching from the west." The local controller conveyed this request to the radar departure controller who replied "Give him a left turn on course." The local controller relayed this information to Flight 112 and said "The wind at the moment is 340 (degrees) velocity 15 (knots)." The crew replied "Okay we'll make a left turn out right away." This was the last communication from the aircraft.

Flight 112 commenced its takeoff at approximately 1649. The previously mentinoed witness near the approach end of runway 28 described the takeoff as follows : "The flight rolled into takeoff position and started down the runway. I am quite certain that the runway lights were on. As the flight passed the third or fourth runway light it disappeared into a torrential downpour. I could still see the rotating beacon on the plane. It continued in a straight line and disappeared in a few seconds."

The time of takeoff was 1649, as recorded in the Rochester control tower. Passengers were in agreement that the copilot, in the left seat, manipulated the controls during the takeoff run and liftoff; that as the aircraft gained altitude it entered a "wall of rain"; that upon entry, and as the left wing dropped the captain also began to manipulate the controls; that the aircraft then leveled out; that buffeting followed, and the right wing dropped. The aircraft was righted but shortly thereafter the left wing dropped and the aircraft made contact with the ground.

Control tower personnel observed the aircraft emerge from the precipitation area in an extreme right wing-down nose-high attitude. The right wing tip was approximately 25 feet above the ground. Upon seeing the aircraft in this attitude, with the underside of the wings visible, the Rochester Ground Controller shouted "Hit the siren." The local controller responded and one siren near the tower sounded. Control tower personnel then observed the aircraft to right itself and cross the intersection of the north-south east-west runways in what seemed to them to be a normal attitude. As one controller stated "Then he seemed to climb slightly and fell off on the left and fell to the ground."