Thursday, October 09, 2008

NTSB Preliminary Report on the Learjet 60 Crash in South Carolina

NTSB logoThe NTSB has released a preliminary report on the Columbia, South Carolina Learjet 60 accident last month that claimed the lives of two pilots and two passengers, and injured two other passengers. The NTSB report briefly describes the accident, but does not suggest any cause:
On September 19, 2008, at about 11:53 p.m. EDT, a Learjet Model 60 (N999LJ) operated by Global Exec Aviation as an on-demand passenger flight under 14 CFR Part 135 overran runway 11 while departing Columbia, South Carolina, enroute to Van Nuys, California. The 2 crewmembers and 2 of the 4 passengers were fatally injured, the other 2 passengers suffered serious injuries. The aircraft was destroyed by extensive post-crash fire. Weather was reported as clear with light winds.

Tire debris and portions of airplane components were found along the 8,600 foot runway. According to witnesses and initial information, the beginning of the takeoff roll appeared normal, then sparks were observed as the airplane traveled along the runway. The airplane continued beyond the runway threshold, through the approximately 1,000 foot runway safety area and impacted airport lighting, navigation facilities, perimeter fence and concrete marker posts. The airplane then crossed a roadway, and came to rest on an embankment on the far side of the road. The fire began on the airport side of the roadway. [NTSB ID: DCA08MA098]
The report made no mention of a burst tire, although in a press conference just days after the accident, a spokeswoman for the NTSB said that, based on a preliminary review of the aircraft's Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), "The crew reacted to a sound that was consistent with a tire blowout," and apparently initiated a rejected takeoff. Tire debris was reported to have been found on the runway, about 2,800 ft. past the point where the aircraft had begun its takeoff roll.

The investigation is ongoing.