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An examination of the aircraft's systems revealed no evidence of failure or malfunction prior to impact. However, all switches on the pilot's circuit breaker panel were found in the OFF position as were eight heavy type breaker switches on the main distribution panel. The checkoff scroll was found at the pre-takeoff position.
A review of the employment record of the captain reveals that he had been involved in a wheels-up landing accident and as a result thereof he was demoted to copilot for six months. Also, he was involved in an in-flight propeller reversal incident. The captain was reprimanded on at least two occasions for infraction of company rules.
On January 5, 1963, the captain was given a combination type rating and proficiency flight check. The check was discontinued after 2:20 hours because of weather and darkness. On January 8 the check was resumed for an additional 1:15 hours. Mohawk elected to consider the two flight checks as separate. Company records indicate Captain Dennis failed the January 5 check given by that company checkpilot, but passed the January 8 test given by another Mohawk checkpilot. There was some evidence that the checkpilot who passed Captain Dennis on January 8 was later censured for his action, and was no longer employed by Mohawk at the time of the public hearing.
Testimony adduced at the public hearing regarding the captain's proficiency was confusing. The Acting Director of Flying who rode as company checkpilot on January 5, and a Vice President of Mohawk considered the capitain to be below average. The checkpilot who passed him on January 8 testified at the public hearing that he believed him to be a "hazard." At the time of the hearing this checkpile was not employed by Mohawk. The Federal Aviation Agency Inspector who rode on illisible checks characterized him as being "a good pilot." Federal Aviation Agency airman records indicated that the captain had met all the requirements for an airline transport rating and was currently qualified.
The investigation revealed no evidence of control system, powerplants or structural failure. The forces to which the aircraft was subjected when it strud the ground and then cartwheeled, undoubtedly caused the extensive breakup of the structure.
The Mohawk Dispatch Organization depended on a relay of information between the company radio room and the dispatch office. A pilot report of severe weather was transmitted to Mohawk company radio but this report did not reach the Mohawk Dispatch Office. This is indicative of a lack of procedures to insure the relay of information to personnel charged with the initial responsibility of dispatching flights.
When Captain Dennis departed Ithaca at 1508, the Mohawk Dispatch Office at Utica and the Ithaca station, both equipped with Service A weather teletype facilities, should have received the 1415 aviation severe weather forecast, the 1430 SIGMET, and the 1445 amended Rochester terminal forecast. In addition, the Itaca station should have received the 1453 weather message sent from the Utica Dispatch Office. The 1400 Service A weather sequence and the Ithaca flight plan release