ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas MD-87 N987AK Houston Executive Airport, TX
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Tuesday 19 October 2021
Type:Silhouette image of generic MD87 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas MD-87
Operator:987 Investments LLC
Registration: N987AK
MSN: 49404/1430
First flight: 1987
Total airframe hrs:49566
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 18
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 21
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Houston Executive Airport, TX (   United States of America)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Houston Executive Airport, TX (KTME), United States of America
Destination airport:Boston-Logan International Airport, MA (BOS/KBOS), United States of America
A corporate McDonnell Douglas MD-87, N987AK, suffered a runway excursion after an aborted takeoff from Houston Executive Airport, Texas, USA. The aircraft burst into flames after coming to rest in a field. All 21 are evacuated safely with two people being injured.
The aircraft, which had not flown for 10 months, was attempting to take off from runway 36 (6610 ft long) at Houston Executive Airport.
Preliminary data from the airplane’s FDR showed that both elevators were positioned at approximately 18° to 19° trailing edge down when the flight crew applied power and remained there during taxi. Upon reaching rotation speed, the recorded elevator positions split, but neither moved to a trailing edge up position.
The airplane reached a maximum speed of about 158 knots before decelerating when the flight crew rejected the takeoff.
Some 1200 feet of distinguishable heavy braking marks from the tires were found. The aircraft overran the end of the runway, went through a fence and took down powerlines before it came to a stop about 500 m past the end of the runway.

An examination of the tail section revealed that the left and right elevators were jammed in a trailing edge down position; neither elevator could be moved when manipulated by hand.
Both inboard actuating cranks for both elevator’s geared tabs were bent outboard, and their respective links were bent. Both actuating cranks and links were found locked in an overcenter position beyond their normal range of travel.
The damage observed to the left and right elevator geared tab input rod links is similar to the damage found on an MD-83 which crashed after a rejected takeoff on March 8, 2017.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause: The jammed condition of both elevators, which resulted from exposure to localized, dynamic high wind while the airplane was parked and prevented the airplane from rotating during the takeoff roll. Also causal was the failure of Everts Air Cargo, the pilots’ primary employer, to maintain awareness of Boeing-issued, required updates for its manuals, which resulted in the pilots not receiving the procedures and training that addressed the requirement to visually verify during the preflight checks that the elevators are not jammed.

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years
Accident number: DCA22MA009
Download report: Final report

Elevator issue
Runway excursion (overrun)


METAR Weather report:
14:55 UTC / 09:55 local time:
KTME 191455Z AUTO VRB07KT 8SM CLR 22/16 A3011 RMK AO2

15:15 UTC / 10:15 local time:
KTME 191515Z AUTO VRB06KT 9SM CLR 23/17 A3011 RMK AO2


photo of MD-87-N987AK
accident date: 19-10-2021
type: McDonnell Douglas MD-87
registration: N987AK
photo of MD-87-N987AK
accident date: 19-10-2021
type: McDonnell Douglas MD-87
registration: N987AK
photo of MD-87-N987AK
accident date: 19-10-2021
type: McDonnell Douglas MD-87
registration: N987AK

Video, social media

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Houston Executive Airport, TX to Boston-Logan International Airport, MA as the crow flies is 2605 km (1628 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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