Narrative:Flight 843 to San Francisco was cleared to push back from the gat at 17:16 and was cleared to taxi to runway 13R at 17:25. Takeoff was commenced at 17:40. The VR speed was reached at 17:41:03 and the aircraft lifted off the runway. At that moment the stick shaker activated and the first officer, who was making the takeoff, sensed a loss of performance. The captain than took over control and decided to abort the takeoff. The TriStar touched down again (at a vertical descent rate of 14 feet/sec - the structural design limit being 6 feet/sec -) after being airborne for about 6 seconds. Maximum braking and reverse thrust were applied but the airplane didn't decelerate as expected. When it became apparent that he would not be able to stop before hitting the blast fence at the end of the runway, the captain turned the plane left off the runway onto a field. The TriStar came to rest 296 feet to the left of the runway and caught fire.
It appeared that the right Angle of Attack (AOA) sensor had experienced 9 previous malfunctions. The intermittent malfunction was not detectable during pre-flight system tests by the pilots and didn't trigger a fault light. This permitted the sensor to cause a false warning when the air-ground sensor on the landing gear went into the air status on takeoff.
Probable Cause:PROBABLE CAUSE: "Design deficiencies in the stall warning system that permitted a defect to go undetected, the failure of TWA's maintenance system and inadequate crew coordination between the captain and first officer that resulted in their inappropriate response to a false stall warning."
» FSAT 94-08
» ICAO Adrep Summary 1/95
Follow-up / safety actions
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Distance from New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY to San Francisco International Airport, CA as the crow flies is 4123 km (2577 miles).