A Federal Aviation Administration expert said Friday the crew of Delta Flight 1141 had only 95 seconds to complete the takeoff checklist between restarting the plane's third engine and being cleared for takeoff into the deadly Aug. 31 crash.
Danny O'Harrow, the FAA southern region air crew program manager responsible for overseeing Delta's Boeing fleet, appeared on the scheduled last day of a hearing by the National Transportation Safety Board into the cause of the crash. The accident at the end of a runway at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport killed 14 people. Ninety-four people survived the crash.O'Harrow said the flight was in a waiting line on the taxiway and the crew shut off the No. 3 engine to save fuel. As they neared the head of the line, they restarted the engine and 95 seconds later were cleared for takeoff.
O'Harrow said Delta's manuals prescribe a time span of two to three minutes to execute the steps prior to takeoff.
"I would have preferred to have had that two to three minutes," he said.
The implication was that the crew was rushed during the takeoff sequence once they reached the head of the line.
The purpose of the NTSB questioning appeared to indicate the 95 second time span was not sufficient to complete the 30 required steps, which include the lowering of the flaps on the wings to provide extra lift on takeoff. Previous testimony in the hearing has shown wing flaps were in the up position in the wreckage, the opposite of their proper position for a takeoff.
During the questioning of O'Harrow and other FAA officials, NTSB investigators sought to find out if the FAA's southern region, headquartered in Atlanta as is Delta, had properly performed its oversight functions over the airline.