ᴡᴀs ᴛʜɪs ᴘʟᴀɴᴇ’s ‘ғʟᴀᴛ ʙʟᴀᴅᴇs’ ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴇᴀsᴏɴ ɪᴛ ᴄʀᴀsʜᴇᴅ? – ᴀᴛʟᴀɴᴛɪᴄ sᴏᴜᴛʜᴇᴀsᴛ ᴀɪʀʟɪɴᴇs ғʟɪɢʜᴛ 𝟸𝟹𝟷𝟷

The failure of a severely worn part in a propeller control system was blamed for April 5, 1991’s commuter plane crash that ended lives of former Sen. John Tower, R-Texas, and 22 others.

The National Transportation Safety Board said that the part’s failure made the aircraft uncontrollable.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight 2311, a two-engine Embraer 120 built in Brazil, crashed on April 5, 1991, while approaching the Glynco Jetport at Brunswick, Ga. at a height of 2,300 feet.

An Atlantic Southeast Airlines Embraer 120RT Brasilia, similar to the aircraft involved in the accident.

The safety board said the crew was not responsible for the accident and could have done nothing to prevent the crash.

While the board ruled that the malfunction of the propeller-control system on the left-wing engine was the probable cause of the crash, it also faulted Hamilton Standard, the manufacturer, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The safety board said Hamilton Standard’s propeller-control system design was deficient in that it did not anticipate the kind of failure that occurred in the Georgia crash.

The board said the FAA’s approval of the design also contributed to the accident.

A spokesman for Hamilton Standard said the company, a division of United Technologies, could not comment because it is being sued for damages by Tower’s estate and the estates of other victims of the crash.

On at least 10 of the planes, a new type of hard, rough coating on a tube inside the propeller control system was found to have caused excessive wear on a companion part.

The board said the design was flawed because one three-inch part, called a quill, was softer than the tube in which it was contained. The teeth of the tube became badly worn and essentially lost their grip.

″It acted like a file and over time it wore down the teeth that controlled the propeller unit,″ said acting safety board chairman Susan Coughlin.

The two parts disengaged, changing the angle of the propeller blades.

The safety board’s report said that failure of the system caused a lift and drag condition ″that exceeded the capability of the pilots to counteract with the airplane controls available.″

Mrs. Coughlin said the battering air currents ″forced the aircraft into a left wing down position.″

She said the problem has been corrected in aircraft with similar propeller- control systems.

The wreckage of aircraft.

According to the safety board, witnesses reported that as the airplane approached the airport ″it suddenly turned or rolled to the left until the wings were perpendicular to the ground.″

″The airplane then fell in a nose-down attitude and disappeared out of sight behind the trees,″ it said.

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