Date: January 13, 1982
Type: B-737-222
Registration: N62AF
Operator: Air Florida, Inc.
Where: Washington National Airport, Washington, D.C.
Report No: NTSB-AAR-82-8
Report Date: August 10, 1981
Pages: 141

On January 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90, a Boeing 737-222 (N62AF), was 
a scheduled flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, from Washington National
Airport, Washington, D.C.  There were 74 passengers, including 3 infants,
and five crew-members on board.  The flight's scheduled departure time 
was delayed about 1 hour 45 minutes due to a moderate to heavy snowfall
which necessitated the temporary closing of the airport.

Following takeoff from runway 36, which was made with snow and/or ice
adhering to the aircraft, the aircraft at 161 e.s.t. crashed into the
barrier wall of the northbound span of the 14th Street Bridge, which
connects the District of Columbia with Arlington County, Virginia, and
plunged into the ice-covered Potomac River.  It came to rest on the west
side of the bridge 0.75 nmi from the departure end of runway 36.  Four
passengers and one crewmember survived the crash.  

When the aircraft hit the bridge, it struck seven occupied vehicles and
then tore away a section of the bridge barrier wall and bridge railing.
Four persons in the vehicles were killed; four were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable 
cause of this accident was the flight crew's failure to use engine anti-
ice during ground operation and takeoff, their decision to take off with
snow/ice on the airfoil surfaces of the aircraft, and the captain's 
failure to reject the takeoff during the early stage when his attention 
was called to anomalous engine instrument readings.  Contributing to the
accident were the prolonged ground delay between deicing and the receipt 
of ATC takeff clearance during which the airplane was exposed to continual
precipitation, the known inherent pitchup characteristics of the B-737
aircraft when the leading edge is contaminated with even small amounts of
snow or ice, and the limited experience of the flightcrew in jet transport
winter operations.