Oct. 2, Caldwell, N.J. / Cessna 401B


At 07:51 EDT, a Cessna 401B crashed after an aborted takeoff at Essex County Airport. Three passengers were seriously injured; the pilot and four passengers also received minor injuries. The pilot said the initial takeoff roll was uneventful, and that he planned rotation at 105 mph indicated. However, the airplane accelerated to about 80 mph and then did not appear to accelerate further. About two-thirds of the way down the runway, he decided to abort the takeoff. The airplane skidded off the right side of the runway near the departure end, continued over a berm, and dropped into a ravine. When the airplane was lifted out of the ravine, the pitot covers were found still on the pitot tubes and the red, REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT streamers were found wrapped and knotted around the pitot tube masts. In addition, the cockpit flap control lever and the mechanical following indicator were in the flaps up position – as required by the POH – but the flaps were down. The aircraft was under max gross weight and the pilot aborted the takeoff nearly 1,100 feet past where the airplane should have taken off.


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