Mohawk Airlines Flight 121

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Mohawk Airlines Flight 121
Mohawk Airlines Martin 4-0-4 N465M.png
A Martin 4-0-4 similar to the accident aircraft
DateJuly 2, 1963
SummaryPilot error, bad weather as a contributing factor
SiteRochester, NY
43°07′24″N 77°40′32″W / 43.12333°N 77.67556°W / 43.12333; -77.67556Coordinates: 43°07′24″N 77°40′32″W / 43.12333°N 77.67556°W / 43.12333; -77.67556
Aircraft typeMartin 4-0-4
OperatorMohawk Airlines, Inc.

Mohawk Airlines Flight 121 was a scheduled passenger flight from Rochester-Monroe Airport in Rochester, New York to Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey. On July 2, 1963, the aircraft operating the flight, a Martin 4-0-4 with a total of 15,970 operational hours, crashed during takeoff. The accident killed 7 people (2 crewmen and 5 passengers) and injured 36.

Flight 121 attempted to take off on Rochester's runway 28 into a heavy thunderstorm. The co-pilot was unable to maintain control of the aircraft, and it fell to earth two minutes after takeoff. The plane struck the ground left wing-first. It then cartwheeled wing-over-wing and caught fire.

The co-pilot, as pilot flying, had attempted to keep the plane aloft, keeping a tight grip on the controls even after recovery was impossible. The captain managed to assume control and managed to guide the plane down to save most of the passengers.

The NTSB found the cause of the accident to be the pilot's decision to take off in bad weather, and cited the weather itself as a contributing factor. The captain had initially refused to take off, but was told he would be demoted if he did not commence the flight, as he had twice previously refused to take off in bad weather.


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