Event Details

Title:Loss of control on takeoff, United Airlines Flight 2885, N8053U, McDonnell Douglas DC-8-54F, Detroit, Michigan, January 11, 1983
Micro summary:Following takeoff, this Douglas DC-8-54F rolled to the right and crashed into the ground.
Event Time:1983-01-11 at 0250:03
File Name:1983-01-11-US.pdf
Publishing Agency:National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
Publishing Country:USA
Report number:NTSB-AAR-83-07
Site of event:Detroit RWY 21R
Latitude/Longitude:N4213' W08322'
Departure:Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Romulus, Michigan, USA
Destination:Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, California, USA
Airplane Type(s):Douglas DC-8-54F
Flight Phase:Takeoff
Operator(s):United Airlines
Type of flight:Revenue
Serious Injuries:0
Other Injuries:0
Executive Summary:On January 11, 1983, United Airlines Flight 2885, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8-54F, N8053U, was being operated as a regularly scheduled cargo flight from Cleveland, Ohio, to Los Angeles, California, with an en route stop at Detroit, Michigan. United 2885 departed Cleveland at 0115 and arrived at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport at 0152, where cargo for Detroit was unloaded, the airplane was refueled, and cargo for Los Angeles was loaded. At 0249:58, United 2885 called for clearance onto runway 21R and was cleared for takeoff at 0250:03. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and the company had filed and been cleared for a standard IFR flight plan.

According to witnesses, the takeoff roll was normal, and the airplane rotated to takeoff attitude one-half to two-thirds of the way down runway 21R. After liftoff, the airplane's pitch attitude steepened abnormally, and it climbed to about 1,000 feet above ground level. The airplane then rolled to the right and descended rapidly to the ground. An explosion and fireball occurred at impact. The airplane was destroyed by impact and by the postimpact fire. The flightcrew, consisting of the captain, the first officer, and the second officer, were killed

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the flightcrew's failure to follow procedural checklist requirements and to detect and correct a mistrimmed stabilizer before the airplane became uncontrollable. Contributing to the accident was the captain's 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 takeoff.
Learning Keywords:Operations - Center of Gravity/MAC
Operations - Trim Misset
Operations - Uncontrolled Flight into Terrain
Consequence - Hull Loss
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