Air Moorea Flight 1121
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F-OIQI, the aircraft involved in the crash, pictured in 2002
|Date||9 August 2007|
|Summary||Loss of control due to deterioration and eventual breaking of a pitch control cable.|
|Site||1.5 km (0.9 mi) off Moorea-Temae Airport (MOZ), French Polynesia
|Aircraft type||de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter|
|Flight origin||Moorea-Temae Airport (MOZ/NTTM), French Polynesia|
|Destination||Papeete-Fa'a'ā International Airport (PPT/NTAA)|
Air Moorea Flight 1121 was a De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter which crashed shortly after takeoff from Moorea Airport on Moorea Island in French Polynesia on 9 August 2007, killing all 20 people on board.
It was bound for Tahiti's Faa'a International Airport on a regular 7-minute service, one of the shortest on earth, scheduled 40 to 50 times a day. Frequent takeoff and landing is believed to have been a major factor in the crash, because of wear and tear on the elevator cables, inspected only at fixed time-intervals, regardless of usage. Another factor may have been jet-blast from large planes pushing back from the ramp at Fa'a'ā International.
Flight and crash
The aircraft, reg. F-OIQI, was a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter built in 1979. The airframe had been through 55,044 cycles and 30,833 airframe hours at the time of the crash.
The pilot was 53-year-old French Polynesian Michel Santeurenne. Air Moorea flights generally only required a single pilot, and on 9 August Santeurenne was flying the short hop without any other crewmembers. He had completed 3,514.5 hours of flight time, including 110.3 hours for Air Moorea since 14 May 2007. He had worked for Air Moorea for three months at the time of the accident.
The oft-traveled Moorea to Tahiti route is one of the shortest in the world – only a 7-minute flight on average – and is flown 40 to 50 times a day. On 9 August 2007, F-OIQI was the aircraft operating the short route. The aircraft took off without incident just past noon, and was climbing through 400 feet when, according to eyewitnesses, it suddenly nosed down without warning and drove into the ocean, killing all 20 on board – 19 passengers and the pilot, Santeurenne.
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