US Air Express/Air Midwest Flight 5481Wednesday January 8, 2003
The commuter plane was not able to maintain altitude after taking off from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and crashed into the side of a hanger and burst into flames. The weather was clear, cold and windy, with greater than 10 miles visibility at the time of the accident. The airplane's loss of pitch control during takeoff was the result of incorrect rigging of the elevator control system compounded by the airplane's center of gravity, which was substantially aft of the certified aft limit. Contributing to the cause of the accident was: (1) Air Midwest's lack of oversight of the work being performed at the Huntington, West Virginia, maintenance station, (2) Air Midwest's maintenance procedures and documentation, (3) Air Midwest's weight and balance program at the time of the accident, (4) the Raytheon Aerospace quality assurance inspector's failure to detect the incorrect rigging of the elevator system, (5) the FAA's average weight assumptions in its weight and balance program guidance at the time of the accident and (6) the FAA's lack of oversight of Air Midwest's maintenance program and its weight and balance program.