Last year, the Michigan basketball team was on it's way to the 2017 Big Ten basketball tournament in Washington D.C. There were strong winds at Willow Run Airport when the team plane - an MD-83 - started it's takeoff run. At 170 MPH of airspeed, the airplane should've been flying. According to ClickOnDetroit, when it got to 187 MPH and they were still on the runway, the pilot (with his boss acting as co-pilot and telling him NOT to abort) aborted the takeoff. Looks like he did the right thing. As had been suspected after the crash, the NTSB report says the right elevator, on the tail of the aircraft (and the control surface that controls the up and down pitch of the airplane) had been jammed in a position that didn't allow for the airplane to pitch up. Very important, if you need to take-off. The airplane went through a fence and came to a stop 1000 feet past the end of the runway. There were minor injuries and the team took the Detroit Pistons team plane and got to D.C. the next day. And went on to win the tournament.

The final NTSB report is still six months to a year away, but chalk this up to another good decision and good flying by an experienced pilot. There's no telling what could've happened if they he'd delayed the decision to abort the takeoff, even another second or two.

Here's the story.

 

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