We learned late today the crew of the commuter plane suddenly alerted the plane was about to stall pushed the throttles to full power in a last ditch attempt to keep it flying.
As recovery teams continue removing the victims of Continental Connection 3407, questions tonight about whether the crew was flying on auto-pilot in icing conditions that were so severe they should have been flying manually.
"Approx 5:15, so far we see everything is normal in using the autopilot. It didn't seem like it was a severe icing event," said Captain Steve Chealander, NTSB Board Member
That's important because the crew discussed ice build up on the windshield and wings.
Colgan Air, the operator of the flight, prohibits using autopilot in "severe" icing conditions and for good reason.
According to Greg Feith, a Former NTSB Investigator autopilots should not be on during bad weather.
"If the pilot does not have his hands on the controls when the autopilot is on, all of the sudden the plane can go into a stalled condition from which the pilot might not be able to recover."
On the NTSB's website, the icing dangers it has warned of for years and that flying on autopilot can make it difficult for pilots to feel the drag ice is creating.
Colagan Air also requires its crews to turn on the automated de-icing boot system as soon as they encounter icing conditions, not to wait until it accumulates, as the NTSB recommends.
The Dash-8 that crashed had a sophisticated de-icing boot system that cycled through the wings and tail, popping off accumulated ice every minute.
The NTSB now says the boot system had been on for nearly the entire flight.
The Pilot, 47-year-old Marvin Renslow married with two kids, had flown 33-hundred hours with Colgan Air since 2005. He'd been a captain on the Dash-8 since December.
Co-pilot Rebecca Shaw was 24. She'd joined Colgan Aair a year ago and had 22-hundred hours.
Evidence from the flight data recorder suggests the plane stalled just 17-hundred feet above the ground, but why?
It first pitched up 31 degrees before pitching back down and rolling 105 degrees to right and crashing.
Meanwhile today, a former NTSB Chairman called for grounding all commercial propeller planes to deal with the ice threat but the Senior NTSB Official in Buffalo says prop planes can be just as safe as jets.
Chealander says there is no reason to ground the commercial turbo prop fleet in the country.
"No, there's no evidence to say that. Nor do i think we're going to find evidence to say that, quite frankly. That's my opinion."