21 Lost In Tragedy
Air Midwest Airlines apologized Friday for the Jan 8, 2003 crash
of a Beech 1900 commuter plane. The aircraft pitched up and stalled
seconds after takeoff, before rolling left and crashing into a
maintenance hanger at the Charlotte/Douglas International
"We are truly sorry, and regret and apologize to everyone
affected by this tragic event," said Greg Stephens, president of
Air Midwest, at a memorial service where the plane went down,
according to the AP.
He also said that the airline and Vertex Aerospace acknowledged
the problems that contributed to the crash. The accident killed two
crewmembers and 19 passengers and injured one person on the
Doug and Tereasa Shepherd demanded the apology before settling
their lawsuit against the companies. Their daughter, 18-year-old
college student Christiana Shepard, was killed in the crash.
"The loss of a child, sibling, spouse or parent is devastating
to any family; all that can be done to avoid such loss should and
must be done," the couple said in a statement. "The bottom line
must always be people, not profit."
The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable
cause of the accident was the airplane's loss of pitch control
during take-off resulting from the incorrect rigging of the
elevator system along with a center of gravity substantially aft of
the certified limit.
Contributing to the
cause of the accident were Air Midwest's lack of oversight of the
maintenance work being performed at the maintenance station; Air
Midwest's maintenance procedures and documentation; Air Midwest's
weight and balance program at the time of the accident.
Also blamed was the Raytheon Aerospace quality assurance
inspector's failure to detect the incorrect rigging of the elevator
control system; the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) average
weight assumptions in its weight and balance program guidance at
the time of the accident; and the FAA's lack of oversight of Air
Midwest's maintenance program and its weight and balance