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Plane Was On Autopilot Before Crash

The Associated Press [1]
Monday, Feb 16, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The sounds of the last desperate minutes in the cockpit aboard Flight 3407 could be clues to the cause of a crash that came violently and suddenly, with the doomed plane dropping steeply and pitching and rolling like a rollercoaster.

Investigators in Washington and Buffalo huddled Sunday at the start of an in-depth study of the plane’s voice cockpit and voice data recorders. Hours later, National Transportation Safety Board member Steve Chealander released facts illustrating how the Continental Connection flight disappeared from radar late Thursday, plunging into a house and killing 50 people.

Chealander said information from the plane’s flight data recorder indicated that the aircraft pitched up at an angle of 31 degrees in its final seconds, then pitched down at 45 degrees.

The plane rolled to the left at 46 degrees, then snapped back to the right at 105 degrees _ 15 degrees beyond vertical.


Chealander said the plane was on autopilot until the “stick shaker” and “stick pusher” kicked in, automatically putting the plane back in the pilot’s hands.

Full article here [1]