Most peopel have no doubt heard of the tragic plane crash that happened a few days ago. Stories have appeard all over the internet, nes, papers, and all other forms of media. While there are many factors that could attribute to the crash, one major aspect is that the plane was on autopilot just before it went down.
According to the airline instructions and federal guidelines, a pilot should not engage the autopilot feature while flying through bad weather, an ice storm in this case. If the ice is bad enough, the pi;ots are required to shut off autopilot and fly the plane manually. Steve Chealander of the National Transportation Safety Board, commented that a pilot "should be able to sense problems sooner in manual mode than the autopilot can sense it." The plane was automatically switched to manual mode just before it fell from the sky.
Chealander described the flights chaotic last moments before the crash retrieved from the planes flight recorder. The plane pitched upwards at an angle of 31 degrees, then down at 45 degrees followed by a roll left at 46 degrees and finished when it shot right at 105 degrees which is 15 degrees beyond vertical. While also inspecting radar, the plan was revealed to have dropped from an altitude of 1800 feet to an altitude of 1000 feet in just 5 seconds which would inflict g-forces on the crew and passengers up to twice as much as being on the ground. After all this trauma the plane finally came down belly first on top of a house killing all 49 people on board as well as 1 person on the ground.
The cause of the crash has been determined to be significant ice build up on the wings and windshield which is consistent with reports from various other planes. The strange thing is that the plane's deicing mechanism was activated just 11 minuets after takeoff and was on the entire duration of the flight. Indicator lights showed that everything was wrking normally the whole time as were both engines.
During cleanup, authorities had found remains of 15 passengers. Crews raced in a mad rush to cleanup the remains before an impending storm approached. Cleanup efforts were stated to be at full foce despite weather conditions. It has been estimated that the cleanup could take as much as 4 days but will not waver until the job is done.