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13th of January 1984

Pilgrim Airlines flight 35, a Fokker F.27 mk.100 Friendship (N148PM) was being readied for its from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport to Ottawa, Canada. It would be the second leg for the crew after an uneventful flight to JFK from Groton-New London airport in Connecticut,

The aircraft after the accident (©Frank Ellemers)

The captain had completed the external preflight inspection without any issues observed and had supervised the refueling of the aircraft. 2120 pounds of Jet A fuel was added. Although the temperature was below freezing (temperature -3º C / dewpoint -5º C) with exception of a thin line of ice (1" to 1 1/2" {2.5 to 3.8 cm) chordwise, over the full span, with an estimated depth of 1/16"deep {1.6 mm} on the leading edges, no ice was observed on any part of the airframe during the captains preflight. preflight. While the flight deck crew finished their flight preparation on the flight deck the 21 passengers boarded the aircraft. Ar 14.20 local time the Rolls Royce Dart engines were started/ After a short wait to charge the pneumatic system taxi clearance to runway 4L was received. As per company procedure, the required checklists were performed in accordance with the procedures in force at the time. Which meant that each pilot completed a part of the checklist by himself, without the challenge and response method. With the freedom of movement checked and the checklists completed the aircraft lined up on the runway. The Co-pilot would be the Pilot Flying, and the Captain the Pilot Monitoring. At 14.41 the aircraft was cleared for and initiated take-off. During the take-off roll the required calls were made and at the appropriate speed, the nose was lifted off the runway. When the aircraft was between 50'and 100' (15 meters and 30 meters) above the runway the Co-pilot called for the gear to be retracted, which the captain did. At that moment bot pilots observed the left engine "AUTOFEATHER" light had illuminated and the engine's RPM was decreasing. The captain remarked: Left engine, we just lost it, Okay keep her going". The speed at the time was about 100 knots and the co-pilot had the aircraft under control. After previously identifying and after confirming the failure of the left engine the captain was about to initiate the shut down of the left engine when the right engine lost power. ATC called the aircraft stating; "Pilgrim 35, heavy smoke from the right engine" to which the Captain replied they were going to land. Still above the runway and with both engines lost the captain immediately selected the landing gear down again. However, before the gear was down and locked the aircraft touched down at 1442;44 local time, 60 feet (18 meters) right of the centerline of Runway 4L coming to a stop 11 seconds later after sliding for ~600 feet (~180 meters).

Newspaper photo of N148PM after the accident (Source

The impact was hard enough for the cabin attendant to give her severe back pain, So bad that she was incapacitated and had to lay down on the cabin floor and instruct the passengers from that position to evacuate the aircraft.

She was later helped out of the aircraft by the captain and a passenger, in total 15 of the persons on board the aircraft were injured. A full investigation was performed by the National Transportation Safety Board, the findings are best summarized by the following statement of the probable cause: "The flight crew's failure to use engine anti-ice on the inbound flight to JFK, the captain's failure to conduct a thorough pre-flight inspection, and the flight crew's decision to use engine anti-ice on take-off from JFK which led to power losses on both engines." The full report on the NTSB investigation is available by clicking on the .pdf file below;

Download PDF • 954KB

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