The plane rolled away from the terminal at 9:33. **b]The pilots apparently never tested the elevators by pulling back on the yoke during the following six minutes of taxiing that preceded their final 50-second takeoff roll.
The plane made two left turns and at least two right turns as the plane taxied toward takeoff. These turns may be significant.
As the jet turned onto the runway, the pilots noted that a blue warning light — the “rudder limit light” — had gone on. This baffled them.
“Are you using the rudders?” McDowell asked De Vries. “No.” “Huh.”
Here the pilots made a new error. Rather than stop to figure out what had triggered the warning light, they kept going with the takeoff.
Following postcrash testing, including re-creations of accident scenarios with test aircraft and flight simulators, investigators learned that the rudder limit light was far from a model of clarity.
The light glows blue if pilots keep stepping on the rudder pedal, pushing the rudder to its limit.
But it can also illuminate under certain conditions when pilots turn the taxiing plane to the right. And, investigators found, it can illuminate when the elevators are locked
This passage is from the Inquirer article. It says in 6 minutes of taxiing the pilots never tested the elevators. Is this conceivably likely or is it more likely that they thought the elevators were OK. I assume they can not be seen from the cockpit.