Wednesday 20 December 1995
– United States of America
Tower Air Flight 41, a domestic scheduled passenger flight from New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK/KJFK), New York, to Miami International Airport (MIA/KMIA), Florida, operated with a Boeing 747-136, registration N605FF, veered off the runway after a rejected takeoff at New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK/KJFK), New York, USA.
The airplane, MSN 20271/172, aged 24 at the time, was damaged beyond repair. It was the 25th loss of a Boeing 747. There were no fatalities among the 468 occupants.
Flight 41, bound for Miami was pushed back from the gate at 10:36. At 11:00 de-icing procedures were started at 11:00, using both Type I and Type II fluids. The crew received clearance for runway 04L at 11:16 and started to taxi slowly towards the assigned runway. The aircraft was stopped on the taxiway to clear the engines of any ice by increasing power to 45% N1 for 10 seconds. The aircraft continued and the flight was cleared to taxi in position and hold at 11:32 and got takeoff clearance at 11:36.
The takeoff was normal, until shortly before 80 knots. The aircraft started to move to the left; corrections by the crew were ineffective. The captain then aborted the takeoff by retarding power levers to idle and by applying maximum braking. He didn’t use reverse thrust, because of the slow speed, long runway and the possibility that it could worsen directional control. At 2100 feet past the threshold, the 747 departed the left side of the runway. The aircraft finally struck a transformer, causing the no,4 engine to separate. The Boeing came to rest at 4800 feet past the threshold and 600 feet to the left of the runway centreline with the nosegear collapsed.
– Cause: “The captain’s failure to reject the takeoff in a timely manner when excessive nose wheel steering tiller inputs resulted in a loss of directional control on a slippery runway. Inadequate Boeing 747 slippery runway operating procedures developed by Tower Air, Inc., and the Boeing Commercial Airplane Group and the inadequate fidelity of Boeing 747 flight training simulators for slippery runway operations contributed to the cause of this accident.
The captain’s reapplication of forward thrust before the airplane departed the left side of the runway contributed to the severity of the runway excursion and damage to the airplane.”