Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board held a news conference Thursday to discuss their investigation into the plane accident that occurred Tuesday in Brookshire. During the briefing, officials said the aircraft had not been flown since December 2020. They also detailed how those aboard got out of the aircraft and provides a status update on the black boxes recovered from the wreckage.
The NTSB is charged by Congress to investigate all civil aviation accidents. NTSB opened their investigation into the Brookshire accident Wednesday.
During a news conference Thursday, Michael Graham, a board member with the NTSB, said the investigation is in its early stages.
“Our team methodically and systematically reviews all evidence and considers all potential factors to determine the probable cause of an accident,” Graham said. “We will not jump to any conclusions.”
A team will remain onsite to gather evidence for one to two weeks. The NTSB investigator in charge is Dan Bauer. Assisting him is Senior Investigator Michael Huhn. Bauer and Huhn will be joined by several other NTSB investigators and plan to investigate the plane’s air-worthiness, its engines, accident survival factors, as well as operational factors including performance, among other things.
Graham said NTSB is analyzing the video of the MD-87 that KPRC 2 obtained yesterday and which shows the MD-87 run down the runway in an attempt to take off from the Houston Executive Airport.
The footage was captured by Harry Johnson, a pilot who works out of the Houston Executive Airport.
About eight seconds into the video, a puff of smoke can be seen coming out of one of the aircraft’s engines.
“Fortunately, the engines are in good condition on the tale at the wreckage site and will allow for a thorough examination,” Graham said.
According to NTSB, the accident flight on Tuesday was the aircraft’s first flight since December 2020. NTSB investigators are reviewing the plane’s maintenance history.
Airworthiness investigators are at the wreckage scene identifying the components they will remove from the tail section to examine further.
The investigative team assessed the runway Wednesday and documented the tire marks on the runway’s surface. Graham said the tire marks indicate hard breaking application and good tire contact with the runway’s surface and added that all tires were in contact with the runway when the aircraft ran off the runway.
“We have approximately 1,200 feet of distinct tire marks from both main landing gears on the runway,” Graham said.
The NTSB did not find any debris on the runway.
Investigators are currently interviewing the MD-87′s pilot, first officer and flight mechanic and is reviewing passenger and witness statements in preparation to interview them.
Graham said NTSB determined how the passengers and crew members got out of the plane following the accident -- The flight mechanic opened the main cabin door at the front left of the aircraft and all aboard exited the main cabin door using the automatically-inflated evacuation slide.
NTSB personnel recovered multiple black boxes from the wreckage yesterday. The CVR recorded media appears to be in good condition though NTSB is still working to download the data from it. The flight data recorder also appears to be in good condition.
Graham said Thursday’s briefing would be it’s last at the scene. All new information about the status of the investigation will come out of NTSB headquarters in Washington D.C.
Anyone with photos or videos of the accident is urged the share them with the NTSB by emailing them to witness@NTSB.gov.
At approximately 10:08 a.m. Tuesday, an MD-87 attempted to take off from runway 36 at Houston Executive Airport in Brookshire. The aircraft ran off the paved runway and struck the perimeter fence of the airport, crossed a road, hit another fence and took out the power lines between two power poles and came to a rest, NTSB officials said. The debris path suggest the plane’s left wing struck trees before the plane came to a rest in a field. A majority of the fire damage occurred after the plane came to a rest.
There were 18 passengers and three crew members onboard. The crew members consisted of two pilots and one flight mechanic. Everyone on board evacuated the aircraft and only two minor injuries were reported, Graham said.
The aircraft is owned by 987 Investments LLC. -- State records show J. Alan Kent owns the LLC.