Accident McDonnell Douglas DC-8-54F N8053U, Tuesday 11 January 1983
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Date:Tuesday 11 January 1983
Time:02:52
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC85 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
McDonnell Douglas DC-8-54F
Owner/operator:United Airlines
Registration: N8053U
MSN: 46010/406
Year of manufacture:1968
Total airframe hrs:31902 hours
Cycles:13474 flights
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3B
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Category:Accident
Location:Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW) -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW/KDTW)
Destination airport:Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Narrative:
United Flight 2885 departed Cleveland at 01:15 for a cargo flight to Los Angeles via Detroit. The DC-8 arrived at Detroit at 01:52. Cargo for Detroit was unloaded, the airplane was refueled, and cargo for Los Angeles was loaded. The engines were started, and then the crew called for taxi instructions at 02:45:58. During the taxi, the flightcrew accomplished the before takeoff checklist. The second officer called "trim" and the first officer responded "set". The flightcrew however, inadvertently overlooked setting the stabilizer trim for takeoff, and the setting of 7.5 units ANU was the previous landing trim setting. At 02:49:16, the captain, the first officer, and the second officer discussed the idea of the first officer switching seats with the second officer. They then switched seats about 02:49:40. United 2885 called for clearance onto runway 21R at 02:49:58 and was cleared for takeoff at 02:50:03. The throttles were advanced for takeoff at 02:51:05 and power stabilized 7 seconds later. Speed callouts "eighty knots" and "Vee One" were called by the captain and the airplane broke ground about 02:51:41. The airplane continued to climb with wings level to about 1,000 feet. The airplane then rolled to the right in a gradual right turn until it was in a wings vertical position (right wing down, left wing up) and crashed into a freshly plowed farm field.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The flight crew's failure to follow procedural checklist requirements and to detect and correct a mistrimmed stabiliser before the aircraft became uncontrollable. Contributing to the accident was the captain allowing the second officer, who was not qualified to act as a pilot, to occupy the seat of the first officer and to conduct the take-off."

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: NTSB/AAR-83-07
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 9 months
Download report: Final report

Sources:

ICAO Circular 196-AN/119
NTSB-AAR-83-07

Location

Images:


photo (c) Arno Janssen; Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW); November 1980

Revision history:

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