“The Michigan men’s basketball team plane was involved in an accident Wednesday afternoon. After attempting to take off in high winds, takeoff was aborted and, after strong braking, the plane slide off runway. The plane sustained extensive damage but everyone on board was safely evacuated and is safe. The team is making alternate travel plans.”
1. The Plane Was Travelling About 150 MPH When It Skidded Off the Runway
Initial news reports weren’t able to put the whole situation into perspective.
Michigan coach John Beilein said that reporting that it’s a plane “skidding off the runway” didn’t paint the right picture. Instead, the plane was traveling extremely fast as it attempted to get off of the runway, Beilein said.
It wasn’t just a plane skidding off a runway. It was full going, 150 miles an hour, we can’t stop. And our kids got — thank goodness the plane didn’t flip. All kinds of things could have happened once we got off the plane and looked.
He said that crews aboard the plan acted quickly to ensure safety, but it was a very scary situation. Thankfully, the plane didn’t strike any large objects or slide any further, otherwise the crash may have had fatal results.
2. The Plane Malfunctioned Because of an Equipment Issue
The National Transportation Safety Board issued an update to the incident March 22 and said that the cause seems to be an equipment malfunction.
The statement said that while probable cause and a conclusion hasn’t yet determined, preliminary information and details have been found.
The NTSB said that a post-accident examination found that the “right elevator” on the plane was jammed into a “trailing edge-down position.” Further inspection showed that the elevator on the plane was damaged and restricted movement.
When investigators tried to move the elevator surfaces by hand, the left elevator moved normally, but the right elevator was jammed in a trailing edge-down position (airplane nose down). Upon further inspection, the right elevator geared tab inboard pushrod linkage was found damaged which restricted movement of the right elevator surface but allowed movement of the control tab. After the damaged components were removed, the elevator could be moved by hand.
On airplanes, elevators help control the pitch on the aircraft and provide measurements to how far the nose of a plane is tilted up or down.