After the sharp pitch-up, the plane's nose went down 45 degrees. It rolled to the left, then far to the right, partially upside down.
Pilots call that an aggravated stall. It can be exceedingly difficult to recover from and this crew had only 1,600 to 1,800 feet to do so before the plane hit the ground. There was not the time or the altitude to right the plane.
Investigators are now looking carefully at the training the pilot received, as they do with any accident. The captain, Marvin Renslow, 47, was new to this type of airplane, with 110 hours at the controls flying passengers.
"Captain Renslow had 3,379 total hours of flight experience and was Airline Transport Pilot rated, which is the highest level of certification available," read the airline's statement. "That rating, combined with 172 hours of formal training on the Q400 aircraft, qualified him fully in accordance with all applicable Federal Aviation Regulations."
"I think the jury's going to be out on this for some time," Nance said.