NTSB: Pilots Called ATC with Runaway Trim Problem

 - June 7, 2007, 12:22 PM

Details are emerging about the Cessna 550 that crashed into Lake Michigan Monday. NTSB senior investigator John Brannen revealed that the pilots had made a distress call involving “runaway trim” immediately after takeoff. At a news conference yesterday, Brannen said that “very little” of the wreckage had been recovered so far. The aircraft history reveals it had approximately 3,700 hours total time and had been through a Phase 5 inspection six months ago. According to Stewart Dingman of Marlin Air, the aircraft's operator, the 550 was enrolled in Cesscom. The aircraft had been assigned three separate serial numbers since its manufacture and had been owned by entities in Mexico and Venezuela before being purchased by Michigan Toyota dealer Bob Page in 2003. Dingman told AIN he had flown the airplane the day before the crash and it had flown “beautifully. Obviously something traumatic happened to this airplane,” he said. The aircraft was climbing through 3,000 feet and had already been handed off to Chicago Center, Dingman said, when the distress call was made.