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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: DCA17FA076
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of Ameristar Air Cargo, Inc. (D.B.A. Ameristar and Ameristar Charters )
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 08, 2017 in Ypsilanti, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/06/2019
Aircraft: MCDONNELL DOUGLAS MD80, registration: N786TW
Injuries: 1 Minor, 115 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The Safety Board's full report is available at The Aircraft Accident Report number is NTSB/AAR-19/01.

On March 8, 2017, about 1452 eastern standard time, Ameristar Air Cargo, Inc., dba Ameristar Charters, flight 9363, a Boeing MD-83 airplane, N786TW, overran the departure end of runway 23L at Willow Run Airport, Ypsilanti, Michigan, after the captain executed a rejected takeoff. The 110 passengers and 6 flight crewmembers (two airline transport pilots and four flight attendants) evacuated the airplane via emergency escape slides. One passenger received a minor injury, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as an on-demand charter flight and was destined for Washington Dulles International Airport, Dulles, Virginia. Visual flight rules conditions prevailed at YIP at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • the jammed condition of the airplane's right elevator, which resulted from exposure to localized, dynamic wind while the airplane was parked and rendered the airplane unable to rotate during takeoff. Contributing to the accident were (1) the effect of a large structure on the gusting surface wind at the airplane's parked location, which led to turbulent gust loads on the right elevator sufficient to jam it, even though the horizontal surface wind speed was below the certification design limit and maintenance inspection criteria for the airplane, and (2) the lack of a means to enable the flight crew to detect a jammed elevator during preflight checks for the Boeing MD-83 airplane. Contributing to the survivability of the accident was the captain's timely and appropriate decision to reject the takeoff, the check airman's disciplined adherence to standard operating procedures after the captain called for the rejected takeoff, and the dimensionally compliant runway safety area where the overrun occurred.