Pilot says he tried to keep airliner on Denver runway
DENVER, Colorado ” The pilot of an airliner destroyed after veering off a Denver, Colorado runway last month told federal safety investigators he struggled to keep the aircraft on course during the attempted takeoff.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday the pilot of the Boeing 737-500 said that when the airplane suddenly diverged to the left during a takeoff roll, he tried to correct the course with the rudder but couldn’t.
The pilot also said he tried using the jet’s tiller to manipulate the steering of the nose gear, but that didn’t keep the aircraft on the runway either, the NTSB said in a summary of information gathered so far by accident investigators.
Houston-bound Continental Airlines flight 1404 was carrying 110 passengers; 38 were injured, including the pilot.
The summary doesn’t say whether any mechanical problems were found with the nose gear, which investigators dug out of the ground last week.
Passengers interviewed after the accident reported a loud bumping and rattling noise, and plane’s voice recorder also contains loud noises 41 seconds after the airliner began a takeoff roll down Denver International Airport’s runway 34.
But the NTSB summary suggests those noises are consistent with the noises that would be heard as the aircraft left the smooth runway surface for uneven ground. The plane rumbled over 2,300 feet of snowy fields and roadway before halting in a ravine and catching fire.