Accident Beechcraft 1900D N233YV,
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Date:Wednesday 8 January 2003
Type:Silhouette image of generic B190 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Beechcraft 1900D
Owner/operator:US Airways Express
Registration: N233YV
MSN: UE-233
Year of manufacture:1996
Total airframe hrs:15003 hours
Cycles:21332 flights
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67D
Fatalities:Fatalities: 21 / Occupants: 21
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, NC (CLT) -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, NC (CLT/KCLT)
Destination airport:Greenville-Spartanburg Airport, SC (GSP/KGSP)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Air Midwest flight 5481, a Beechcraft 1900D, crashed shortly after takeoff from runway 18R at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT, North Carolina, USA. The 21 occupants aboard the
airplane were killed.
The accident airplane had undergone a detail six (D6) maintenance check between the night of January 6 and the morning of January 7, 2003. During this check the elevator cable tension was adjusted.
In the process the elevator control system was incorrectly rigged, restricted the airplane’s elevator travel to 7º airplane nose down, or about one-half of the normal downward travel. This error was not detected prior to release to service.
The airplane returned to service on the morning of January 7 and flew a total of nine flight legs before the accident flight.
At 08:37 the aircraft was ready for taxi for a flight to Greenville-Spartanburg Airport, South Carolina, USA. At 08:46 the flight was cleared for takeoff from runway 18R. One minute later, immediately after the landing gear had been retracted, the nose pitched up to 20°. Both crew members reacted with surprise and the captain asked the first officer to help him.
Both flight crew then attempted forcefully push the nose down. The nose continued to pitch up to 54° and the stall warning horn sounded. The aircraft's nose dropped and it rolled 127° to the left.
The airplane’s roll attitude then stabilized at about 20º left wing down; the pitch attitude began to increase. About 08:47:24 the airplane rolled right through wings level, and the pitch attitude increased to about -5º. The nose dropped again and the airplane struck a US Airways maintenance hangar and came to rest about 1650 feet east of the runway 18R centerline and about 7600 feet beyond the runway 18R threshold.

It appeared that, aside from the limit nose down elevator travel, the aircraft had an excessive aft center of gravity due to substantially inaccurate weight and balance calculations.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The airplane’s loss of pitch control during takeoff. The loss of pitch control resulted from the incorrect rigging of the elevator control system compounded by the airplane’s aft center of gravity, which was substantially aft of the certified aft limit. Contributing to the cause of the accident was: (1) Air Midwest’s lack of oversight of the work being performed at the Huntington, West Virginia, maintenance station; (2) Air Midwest’s maintenance procedures and documentation; (3) Air Midwest’s weight and balance program at the time of the accident; (4) the Raytheon Aerospace quality assurance inspector’s failure to detect the incorrect rigging of the elevator system; (5) the FAA’s average weight assumptions in its weight and balance program guidance at the time of the accident; and (6) the FAA’s lack of oversight of Air Midwest’s maintenance program and its weight and balance program."


12:51 UTC / 07:51 local time:
KCLT 081251Z 22006KT 10SM SCT140 BKN250 03/M07 A2975 RMK AO2 SLP075 T00331072=

13:51 UTC / 08:51 local time:
KCLT 081351Z 23007KT 10SM SCT140 BKN250 04/M06 A2976 RMK AO2 SLP079 T00391061=

14:51 UTC / 09:51 local time:
KCLT 081451Z 24008KT 210V290 10SM FEW140 BKN250 07/M04 A2977 RMK AO2 SLP083 T00671044 53008=

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: NTSB AAR-04-01
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year 1 month
Download report: Final report


ALPA Submission to the NTSB on Air Midwest Flight 5481

History of this aircraft

Other occurrences involving this aircraft
29 November 1997 C-FYSJ Ministic Air Island Lake, Manitoba



photo (c) Lookout2; Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, NC (CLT); 08 January 2003; (CC:by-sa)

photo (c) NTSB; Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, NC (CLT); January 2003

photo (c) Aviation Safety Network

photo (c) Andrew Thon; Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, NC (CLT/KCLT); 2012

Revision history:


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