NTSB to hold January meeting regarding 2017 Michigan basketball plane crash

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
A plane carrying the Michigan men's basketball team slid off the runway in 2017 at Willow Run Airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Thursday it will hold a board meeting on Jan. 15 to determine the probable cause of the March 2017 rejected takeoff and runway excursion involving the Michigan men’s basketball team.

The meeting will include NTSB board members and all parties of the NTSB investigative staff, which includes the Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing and Ameristar Air Cargo Inc.

The incident occurred on March 8, 2017, when the basketball team was scheduled to take an Ameristar charter flight to Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia for the Big Ten basketball tournament that was being held in Washington, D.C. But on a day so windy that the control tower lost power and was evacuated, the Boeing MD-83 plane skidded 1,000 feet past the end of runway 23L at Ypsilanti’s Willow Run Airport.

All 110 passengers and six crew members evacuated via emergency escape slides, with one passenger receiving a minor injury and the plane being substantially damaged.

According to a preliminary report released weeks after the mishap, the NTSB indicated the right elevator — there is a left and a right and they control the upward and downward movement of the plane — was jammed amid wind gusts in a “trailing edge-down position (airplane nose down).”

Then in April, the NTSB released part of the investigative report that revealed pilot Mark Radloff broke protocol by aborting takeoff while traveling at 187 mph, but his decision ended up saving all 116 lives.

The Wolverines went on to a memorable run following the harrowing ordeal, beating Illinois in their practice uniforms en route winning to the Big Ten tournament title and falling to Oregon in a Sweet 16 matchup that went down to the final shot.

According to the NTSB website, board members "regularly conduct board meetings to discuss and adopt accident reports, special investigation reports, safety studies, and other board products."


Twitter: @jamesbhawkins