Wind damaged parked MD-83 prior to overrun

[Ref Flight International 19March 2019]

Occurrence Date/Time 8 March 2017
Aircraft Type Boeing MD-83
Flight / Operator Ameristar aircraft (N786TW)
Description calculated the V1 decision speed and rotation speed

aircraft, which reached a maximum airspeed of 173kt, did not rotate

captain aborted the take-off roll


Result travelled 1,780m (5,850ft) along runway 23L before the crew applied brakes

leaving just 970m of paved surface

It overran the paved surface at 100kt and struck a raised perimeter road at 40kt before coming to a halt

one occupant receiving minor injuries

aircraft was substantially damaged – and was subsequently written off

Contributory factors Aircraft had been parked on the ramp for two days close to a large hangar

While the surface winds and gusts did not exceed aircraft design limits, computational fluid dynamics simulations showed the hangar’s presence generated localised turbulence with a vertical component that “rapidly” flipped the MD-83’s elevator surfaces up and down.

This caused the elevators – which, by design, did not have gust locks – to strike their mechanical stops, sufficiently hard to jam the right-hand elevator in a full trailing-edge down position

“lack of a means” for crews to detect a jammed elevator during pre-flight checks on the type.

Recommendation/ Comment
  • captain with a “timely and appropriate” decision to reject the take-off, and
  • monitoring pilot‘s “disciplined adherence” to standard operating procedures 

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