Mohawk Airlines Flight 121

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Mohawk Airlines Flight 121
Martin 4-0-4, Provincetown-Boston Airline (PBA) JP5945252.jpg
A Martin 4-0-4 similar to the accident aircraft
Accident
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.
RegistrationN449A
Passengers40
Crew3
Fatalities7
Injuries36
Survivors36

Mohawk Airlines Flight 121 crashed during takeoff from Rochester-Monroe Airport for Newark International Airport on July 2, 1963, killing 7 people and injuring 36.

The aircraft, a Martin 4-0-4 with a total of 15,970 hours in-flight, attempted to take-off on runway 28 into a heavy thunderstorm. The pilot was unable to maintain control, and the plane came back down. The left wing impacted ground and the aircraft cartwheeled wing-over-wing and caught fire, killing seven people on board: two crewmembers and five passengers. The weather forecast at the time was found to be entirely accurate. The NTSB found the cause of the accident to be the pilot's poor decision to take off in bad weather, and cited the weather itself as a contributing factor. The captain had tried to refuse takeoff due to poor weather conditions but was told he would be demoted if he failed to take off as he had refused to take off two times previously due to inclement weather. Two minutes after takeoff strong winds had taken a hold of the aircraft and it preceded to tumble its way back down to the ground. The co-pilot had completely lost control of the aircraft but would not let up on the controls so the pilot took matters back into his own hands and managed to get the plane to a certain position to save most of the passengers on board.

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