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MD-83 Crash Near Houston

Major crash, many details still unknown at this time. ( More...

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Torsten Hoff 24
Thankfully -- and quite remarkably -- everyone survived, with only one person injured.
Richard Sucher 16
Video on here: shows skid marks to the end of the runway and through the grass for a couple hundred meters to a small ditch. Across the ditch, there is what appears to be a belly drag, some burn patches, and ultimately the aircraft turned sideways relative to the inferred path. That had to be a rough ride.

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djames225 9
It was more than likely rough BEFORE the gear was torn off!
RECOR10 -8
Wow, tender hearts here....I thought it was funny.
bentwing60 0
Someone once said "The meek shall inherit the earth", It ain't workin'!
Gary Eldridge 7
Look at the long scorch mark out behind the right engine. That engine was still producing thrust after the plane came to a stop. At the beginning of take off roll the left engine blows out a big puff of white smoke - not normal. And no flaps visible on take off roll. Looks like a combination of things may have caused problems.
Ellie Presner 4
It's almost always a "combination of things" that cause a crash, isn't it?
It's not a 83, but a 87...
Boston-bound flight from Houston. Baseball fans?
yes richard,it was..the planes owner is a houston area home builder/developer and he had invited about 17 or 18 friends to join him on the trip to boston to support the of the inside of the reconfigured jet showed couches,swivel seats a bar and a desk seating area for business trips..
Chris B 9
Blancolirio has a good initial report:
WeatherWise 8
N987AK (987 Investments), blocked on FA. Private charter.
Ken Thompson 4
A video shows the moment the engines were throttled up, the #1 (left) engine blew flame and smoke. This is the engine that was totally destroyed while the #2 engine appeared to be virtually unscathed. Lack of thrust from that engine would never get that plane airborne, but if that IS the case, the pilots appeared to have been very slow to respond to the engine failure.
Looking forward to the NTSB report.
Gary Bain 2
I did not see any flame in the video. As I said earlier if a compressor stall had occurred they would have stopped right there (at least one would hope). The pilot stated that the airlane would not rotate and did not mention any engine problems.
Marty Martino 1
Didn’t see flame, did see smoke. First impression is a bird strike. However, to borrow from Sherlock Holmes, it is hazardous to theorize in advance of the facts. Like you, I’m waiting for the NTSB’s report.
bbabis 4
As much as I could zoom in on the video, it did look like a clean wing take-off attempt. Was take-off flaps not selected or selected and failed to deploy? Best news of the day, all OK!
Duane Mader 4
Not commenting on the cause but Blancolirio showed video of the left engine emitting a big puff of white smoke on takeoff

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adalbert29 9
Let's keep it intelligent.
david harris 3
it was a MD-87 not a MD-83
tlfys1 3
Houston home builder's aircraft going to the baseball game in Boston.
bentwing60 8
Gotta' build a lotta' homes to fund a Mad Dog for your own personal magic carpet ride!
Steve Jensen 3
Brings to mind the August 16, 1987 Northwest Flight 255 crash shortly after taking off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, killing 156 people. (T.O. flaps not selected)
Jasper Buck 3
On August 16, 1987, Northwest Flight 255 crashed shortly after taking off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, killing 156 people. There was one survivor. The DC-9-82 flightcrew did not use the pre-takeoff checklist and forgot to extend the flaps/slats for takeoff. The takeoff warning horn did NOT sound when the thrust levers were advanced. The NTSB found the takeoff warning horn circuit breaker was closed (ative.) No one ever figured out why the horn didn't sound.

As an aside the aircraft did manage to get airborne but hit some tall lamp posts in the rental car parking lot and then went down on the freeway leading into the airport.

I was the lead FAA inspector for the Airframe group.

My recommendation is, and always has been, read and use the checklist for all phases of flight. Regardless of the size and complexity of the aircraft.

Capt J Buck

ATP DC-9 B757 B767
Flight Instructor
Ground Instructor
Aircraft Dispatcher
A&P Mechanic
Air Traffic Controller
FAA Aviation Safety Inspector (Ops & Aws) ((Ret.)
FAA certified accident investigator (Ret.)
Rick Hunt 3
Elevator lock.....
chris lucak 3
Just a guess but maybe the flaps weren't deployed?
Greg S 2
I heard (blancolirio) it was a rejected take-off, thought why it was rejected they didn't say. You can bet the NTSB will know with 99% certainty in a few days what went wrong and they won't say for another year at least.
Gary Bain 2
Local news said that the pilot stated that the airplane did not rotate at Vr. Puts the pilot in a very awkward position as they were already well past V1.
mbrews 1
Greg, a further point -

I heard Juan say "if it was a rejected takeoff, why do we not see clamshell reversers still deployed ? " (on the still-intact tail section).

Glad that all safe.
bbabis 4
I am not familiar with MDs but in most planes several things must happen for reversers to deploy. Weight must be on the wheels, engines must spool down to ground idle, levers can then move to deploy. A late abort may not give things enough time to happen before things start breaking on the overrun.
sparkie624 2
If rejected take off, then they could have changed their mind and closed them, or never fully opened... FDR and CVR will show what really happened. First that I ever heard of a Rejected Take Off!
djames225 2
Another month and half and it would have been a 34 yr old airframe. Thankful all got out with only 2 injuries reported.
Here is her original look with first customer Finnair
sparkie624 3
By looking at videos of the plane taking off... It looks as though his leading Edge Devices were not deployed... With out them, there is no way he could have gotten a good initial rate of climb off the runway.. Reminds me of another flight that was in DTW if I remember correctly.
Silent Bob 9
Even at full screen that video was shot from too far away to confirm flap/slat position. There is (unconfirmed) video of it taxiing out, and one can clearly see trailing edge flaps extended. With less than flaps 14* the slats will be at mid position, 14* or above they will go to full extension so it makes sense that if the slats were at mid position it may be hard to see in a grainy video.
Matt West 3
There was also one in Spain (Spanair Flight 5022) where the flaps were not configured correctly. Got a few hundred feet off the ground then crashed.
Matt Lacey 1
With such a small passenger load, would they need a standard commercial takeoff configuration? Honest question. I designed planes in undergrad before moving to things that fly a little higher, so my intuition is rusty.
LarryQB 2
Some folks are suggesting the flaps/slats may have been mis-set, however that seems to be beside the point as the aircraft never made it off the ground. The long time since it's previous flight (10 months if the report is correct) would be a factor. What has become inoperative in all that time? Why would someone fly passengers without a functional flight check?
Rico van Dijk 1
Site is unavailable from Europe, is there another source?
Larry Horton 1
A couple of questions if someone has the time to answer it is appreciated. Never been to that airport. Does it have on site fire/rescue? I am assuming the plane can takeoff with one engine particularly since I am thinking it was no where near gross take off weight? Lastly it seemed to be burning hot mid fuselage. Does it have a belly tank there? TIA
boughbw 4
It can. I was a passenger in a full AA flight from Albuquerque to Dallas when we lost an engine right at V1 due to FOD. ABQ is higher elevation and it was a nice hot, sunny day. We used every bit of that 12,000 foot runway to get off the ground on one engine. I was surprised we took off instead of rejecting, but I later learned that that the SOP is take-off, come-around, and then land, which we did. I also learned from the pilot telling me this that they frequently program ABQ in the simulator because it is hot and high, and that presents the greatest challenges to pilots. Our pilots were terrific. After trying to restart the engine and failing, we came back around and landed. However, they were pretty pissed-off as we were deplaning, chewing out airport employees over the debris in the runway.
Larry Horton 1
So doing a little research and feel free to correct/critique as you see fit. I have a thick skin. TKME has a 18/36 runway of 6,610 feet. Weather that day was about 77f,29.98" mercury, Dew point 70f, wind Se @ 22 and élévation of 166'. Now I believe that give a density altitude of 1617'! Typical takeoff for MD 87 is about 6069'. Cutting it close already. Loose an engine or have anything not set perfect and you are not going to lift off. Not sure how many more feet that density altitude tacks on as I have no experience in anything near that big.
Matt Lacey 1
Interesting analysis. Is 6069’ the distance with so few people on board?
spatr 2
Yes they have center tanks, also some have aux tanks as well. To go from Houston to Boston, there would be a lot of fuel in the center tanks. I don't have my manuals anymore, but even in a corporate configuration, they could be heavy depending on how much fuel they loaded...tankering, etc..
George Pepe 1
Too bad. I loved those planes. And still do.
Ken Hardy 1
I wonder what version of the JT 8D Pratt engine this aircraft had, a -217 or -219 ? and if a burner can blew out on throttle up ?
I never had flown any of the Mad Dogs mostly Boeing during my airline flying days but if the flaps
were not deployed I believe there is a real good take off warning system on the Douglas aircraft
would that not have warned the crew ? Also I noticed the puff of smoke from the left engine on take off which could indicate a possible compressor stall the reason they may have tried to abort the take off.
Gary Bain 3
They had just increased to take off power. If they had had a compressor stall they would have stopped right there.
I did not see any details if the aircraft has take off or and fell or did not actually take off infact. But's a miracle for no one has injury or even dead.
adalbert29 1
From video seems that jet blast from #2 cleared grass off but nothing behind #1
Pat Barry 1
I'm guessing that the pilots neglected to extend the takeoff flaps, or a mechanical occurred where the leading edge flaps failed to deploy?
The aircraft was lightly loaded and it appeared to reach VR but wouldn't lift so that would be a no flap situation.
Michael Hawke 1
The plane never rotated. That has nothing to do with the flaps.
ethereali 1
10-4 on "Wow" and "GI" for lever -> TRU depoly.
alex hidveghy 2
jeepien 1
De-Polly--From Monty Phython's Dead Parron sketch.
RC Pate 1
no leading edge devoices deployed; it won't fly.
sparkie624 3
Exactly! that was the point in my first post... Keep in mind the one in DTW. they pulled the Takeoff Warning Breaker because it was annoying and missed setting the Flaps/Slats... It came off the ground and did pretty much what this one did. the Video shown on the Fox news showed a very clean wing when it should not have been clean.. No Leading Edge or Trailing Edge Devices. Pilot error! Glad no one paid the ultimate price!
boughbw 1
I was thinking of the other Detroit accident (YIP) with the UMich basketball team. Storm wind overnight prior to departing had jammed the trim. That was my initial thought. But with the video of debris/unusual exhaust exiting the engine at take-off, I'm thinking neither the scenario you or I suggest would be the one.
the pictures of the crash site were awful! it is remarkabale all of the people on board got out,but reports were the flames and total destruction was not immediate,so they were able to escape before be sure the ntsb will investigate thoroughly to find out what cause the incident..the aircraft was in a take off roll but did not get off the ground..
boughbw 2
It is remarkable that nobody was hurt, but the images are of a plane that has burned and it wouldn't be nearly that bad in the first minutes when they escaped. The plane did its job in protecting its occupants until they could reach safety.
Jim Ward 1
Asymmetrical leading edge slat deployment.
By the look of the tail in the picture the airplane is obviously an MD87, not an MD80 as the MD80 series does not have a squared off rudder at the top.
bentwing60 0
Too bad, they missed a good game. Stros in the ninth. (slats, flaps)
bentwing60 1
Addendum, Stros' and the Braves for the series and I guess they will just have to charter to Hotlanta.
patrick baker 0
no flaps or slats set:??? was that a check list item?
Gary Bain 4
It remains to be seen if the flats and slats were set. Let's not jump to conclusions.
jeepien 1
Flats and slaps perhaps. :-)
darjr26 -7
It baffles my mind that some egotistical Texas home builder would use an MD87 as his personal/corporate airplane. It would take tons of money and a real commitment to safety to professionally operate and maintain this type of aircraft. When the NTSB digs into this it will be interesting to see how this airplane was maintained and operated.
Silent Bob 7
Are you competing with Robert Cowling to see who can make the dumbest post on flightaware? He’s definitely got a head start on you, but this one clearly puts you in the running!
Gary Bain 5
Not surprising. They are building tons of new homes in the Houston area. Would you feel the same if it was an egotistical "celebrity". I agree, what the NTSB finds will be very interesting.
spatr 2
He chartered it.
Gary Bain 3
No, he owned it.
spatr 0
Sorry, he owns the LLC that owns the plane. I don't know if it was on a 135 certificate or not.
FAR 125?
spatr 1
Sorry wrong part
Randy Lawrence -1
I hate to say this but...Gust Lock?? As crazy as it's happened before.
spatr 2
no gust lock on MDs
ua549 -1
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Plane with over 20 on board crashes during takeoff

The McDonnell Douglas MD-87 was carrying 21 people: 18 passengers and three crew members. Everyone was evacuated safely from the plane, with one person reporting minor injuries.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

linbb -6
Says MD80
btweston 10
Another article says MD-87, but 83 and 87 are just variants of the -80 series, itself based on the DC-9. Kind of like a 737-200 or -800 are variants of the 737.

I don’t actually think there is a specific MD-80, just the variants starting with -81, all of which are MD-80s.

So if you want to harp on something, harp on their naming conventions.
Colin Seftel 4
This aircraft is registered as a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-87. See
I wonder if the flight was cheaper to fly on than a recognized airline would have cost for the 19 cheapskates. Get your moneys worth, guys?
Gerhard Furter -9
What are the Feds doing there..?
Gary Bain 8
Their job?


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