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On June 8, 1999, about 1526 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 402C, N440AB, registered to Tropical International Airlines, Inc., and operated by Air Sunshine, Inc., as a Title 14 CFR Part 135 non-scheduled international passenger flight, public charter, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, ran off the side of the runway and collided with an airport sign during takeoff from Fort Lauderdale. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The aircraft received substantial damage and the airline transport-rated pilot and nine passengers were not injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.
The pilot stated that during taxi and takeoff the windows were fogged over, but he could see the runway center line and the aircraft's wings. During takeoff roll on runway 9 right it was raining hard. At about 80 knots he raised the aircraft's nose slightly. At about 1,000-1,500 feet down the runway, while at a speed of 85-90 knots, he felt the aircraft jerk to the left and the left wing drop down. About 5 seconds later, he noticed the left main wheel was in the grass off the left side of the runway. He aborted the takeoff and applied right rudder in an attempt to direct the aircraft back onto the runway. The aircraft remained off the runway and crossed over a taxiway and collided with a taxiway sign, at which time the landing gear collapsed. The aircraft then impacted nose first in a large puddle of water and spun around to the left coming to rest on a northwesterly heading.
The passengers stated the pilot and the ramp agent argued about the baggage prior to loading the aircraft. The pilot stated the bags were too heavy and that some would have to stay behind. The agent informed them it was not a problem and all the luggage would be placed on the aircraft, which it was. They had to run from the terminal to the aircraft because of the heavy rain. When they got in the aircraft, the windows were fogged over and they could not see out. They taxied to the runway and started the takeoff roll. The windows were still fogged over and they could not see out the front windows. As the aircraft rolled down the runway, it drifted toward the left side of the runway. The pilot was holding the control wheel turned full to the right. The left wheel dropped off the runway about the time the nose of the aircraft came up. The nose of the aircraft then dropped down and collided with the ground. The aircraft spun around and came to rest.
The ramp agent stated he checked in the passengers and bags. He counted 18 to 20 bags with a combined weight of 460 to 480 pounds. This included two 50-pound sand bags which were in the nose baggage compartment for ballast.
Information on the pilot is contained in the First Pilot Information section of this report and in attachments to this report.
Information on the aircraft is include in the Aircraft Information section of this report and in attachments to this report.
After the accident FAA inspectors supervised the removal and weighing of all baggage from the aircraft. The aircraft contained 21 bags, including 2 sandbags, with a total weight of 524 pounds. Some of the bags were wet. Calculation of the aircraft's weight and balance condition at the time of the accident was performed using the aircraft's empty weight from the last weighing, the baggage weight supplied by the ramp agent, and passenger weights supplied to the FAA by the passengers. The aircraft weighted about 7,120 pounds and the center of gravity was about 153.94 inches aft of the datum. The aircraft had been modified to increase the maximum allowable takeoff weight from 6,850 pounds to 7,210 pounds. The center of gravity range at the maximum takeoff weight of 7,210 pounds is 152.8 to 160.7 inches aft of the datum.
The weight and balance manifest completed by the pilot prior to the flight showed the aircraft contained only 10 bags at a weight of 170 pounds total and that the aircraft weighed 6,824 pounds. See attached weight and balance information.
Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport 1525 surface weather observation was winds 030 degrees at 11 knots with gusts to 19 knots, visibility 1.5 miles in heavy thunderstorm and rain, clouds 700 feet scattered, 1,000 feet broken, and 2,300 feet overcast, temperature 75 degrees F, dewpoint temperature 73 degrees F, altimeter setting 29.94 in Hg.
A review of surface weather observations for the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport showed that from 1453 to 1511, .07 inches of rain fell. From 1511 to 1525, .10 inches of rain fell.
The Operation Supervisor for the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport at the time of the accident stated that upon arrival at the scene of the accident shortly after it occurred, there was a moderate rain shower over the airport and the runway was wet. There was no areas of standing water on the portion of runway used by the accident aircraft.
FAA controllers stated there was no activation of the low level windshear alert system during the time N440AB was departing. Additionally, FAA controllers were reporting the winds from 030 at 10. For additional meteorological information see the Weather Information section in this report and meteorological information attached to this report.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Postcrash examination of the runway and aircraft showed the aircraft's left main tire dropped off the runway edge at about 1,300 feet from the beginning of the runway. At about 1,450 feet, the nose landing gear went off the runway. At about 1,600 feet, the right main landing gear went off the runway. At about 2,000 feet from the beginning of the runway, the aircraft crossed over the "G-3" taxiway and collided with the taxiway identifier sign. The nose landing gear separated at this point. The aircraft then nosed down and collided with the ground in an area of standing water. The main landing gear collapsed and separated. The aircraft turned to the north came to rest in the grass area about 100 feet north of the runway, about 2,500 feet from the beginning of the runway.
Postcrash examination of the main landing gear brakes showed the brakes were not engaged and the main tires rotated freely.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The pilot submitted to post accident drug testing on June 9, 1999, about 1045. Testing of the urine sample he submitted was performed by American Medical Laboratories, Inc., Chantilly, Virginia. The tests were negative for marijuana metabolites, phencyclidine, amphetamines, cocaine metabolites, and opiate metabolites.
The aircraft was released by NTSB to Mr. Moe Adili, Director of Flight Operations, Air Sunshine, Inc., on June 9, 1999. No components were retained by NTSB.