The key to flying through turbulence is proper attitude control. Both pitch and bank should
be controlled by reference to the attitude gyro indicator. Extreme gusts may cause large changes
in pitch or bank. To avoid overstressing the aircraft, do not make abrupt control inputs. Use
moderate control inputs to reestablish the desired attitude.
Severe vertical gusts may cause appreciable altitude deviations. Allow altitude to vary.
Sacrifice altitude to maintain desired attitude. Do not chase the altimeter.
Summary of Air Florida Mishap
On January 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90, a Boeing 727-222 (N62AF), was a scheduled
flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from Washington National Airport, Washington D.C.
There were 74 passengers, including 3 infants, and 5 crewmembers on board. The flight's
scheduled departure time was delayed about 1 hour 45 minutes because of moderate to
heavy snowfall, which necessitated the temporary closing of the airport.
Following takeoff from runway 36, which was made with snow and/or ice adhering to the
aircraft, the aircraft at 1:31 EST crashed into the barrier wall of the northbound span of
the 14th Street Bridge, which connects the District of Columbia with Arlington County,
Virginia, and plunged into the ice-covered Potomac River. It came to rest on the west
side of the bridge 0.75 nm from the departure end of runway 36. Four passengers and one
crewmember survived the crash.
When the aircraft hit the bridge, it struck seven occupied vehicles and then tore away a
section of the bridge barrier wall and bridge railing. Four persons in the vehicles were
killed; four were injured.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of this
accident was the flight crew's failure to use engine anti-ice during ground operation and
takeoff, their decision to takeoff with snow/ice on the airfoil surfaces of the aircraft, and
the captain's failure to reject the takeoff during the early stage when his attention was
called to anomalous engine instrument readings. Contributing to the accident were the
prolonged ground delay between deicing and the receipt of ATC takeoff clearance during
which the airplane was exposed to continual precipitation, the known inherent pitch up
characteristics of the B-727 aircraft when the leading edge is contaminated with even
small amounts of snow or ice, and the limited experience of the flight crew in jet transport
Figure 5-9 Air Florida Mishap Abstract
Figure 5-9 graphically demonstrates that icing poses a serious threat to aviation. No matter
which part of the world home base is located, icing can become a hazard to any phase of flight,
not just the takeoff or landing phase. Aircraft icing is classified into two main groups: structural
and engine icing.
Weather Hazards of Turbulence, Icing, Ceilings, Visibility, and Ash Clouds