Sunday, March 09, 2008

Five perish in Cessna Citation crash in Oklahoma

Pilot Tim HartmanOn March 4th, 2008 at approximately 3:15 PM, a chartered Cessna Citation I (500 Model) with two crew members and three passengers on board crashed into a wooded area northwest of Oklahoma City. All five on board were killed, and the aircraft was completely destroyed. The two pilots have been identified in news reports as Tim Hartman (pictured at right) and Rick Sandoval. The passengers were businessmen from the Oklahoma City area.

The aircraft took off from Wiley Post Airport, Oklahoma City, OK, just minutes before the accident. The flight was bound for Mankato, MN. The FAA's initial report on the accident states that the aircraft "crashed under unknown circumstances," four miles from Wiley Post Airport. Witnesses to the accident, who were interviewed by various news media, claimed that they saw the plane fly through a flock of birds shortly before it crashed. NTSB investigators are expected to release a preliminary statement about the accident later this week.

According to FAA records, the aircraft, registration number N113SH, was owned by Southwest Orthopedic Sports Medicine Clinic in Oklahoma City. The plane was based at Wiley Post Airport.

Messages of condolence to the families and friends of those whose lives were lost in this accident can be entered online in a Guest Book, sponsored by Oklahoma City newspaper The Oklahoman.

[Photo Source]

UPDATE March 13, 2008: A preliminary report regarding the March 4 Citation crash in Oklahoma has been posted to the NTSB website: NTSB ID: DFW08FA076

The report includes information obtained from at least 10 witnesses to the accident. Most interesting was an account from a witness who had served 20-years as an Air Force Crew Chief. He reported hearing a sound that resembled an "engine compressor stall," after which he observed the aircraft descending at a 60 to 70 degree nose down attitude, and trailing smoke. He also reported seeing pieces of a white-colored bird falling from the sky.

Other highlights from the NTSB preliminary report:

A security camera at a power company facility near the accident site was found to have recorded the aircraft's descent to the ground "in a near vertical position."

The report notes that there were no reported radio distress calls from the flight crew.

Residue from the horizontal and vertical stabilizers was sent to the Smithsonian Institution for analysis by an ornithologist [bird specialist].

The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was retrieved and sent to the NTSB lab in Washington, DC for analysis, but the report says "examination revealed that the CVR was not operating during the accident flight."

UPDATE July 29, 2009: Bird strike caused fatal crash of illegally chartered Cessna 500 in Oklahoma in 2008