Fatal Westwind crash probe centers on controls

 - July 23, 2007, 11:02 AM

Preliminary analysis of the fatal crash of an air ambulance IAI Westwind on July 2 at Panama City Tocumen International Airport indicates both Honeywell TFE731 engines were “spooling perfectly” before the crash, according to an investigator on site. He told AIN that during the takeoff roll, the CVR recorded the pilot saying, “I need more left rudder input.” As soon as they lifted off, the pilot was about to say something else when the copilot said “wow.” The investigator said a witness saw the airplane pitch up “drastically,” veer to the right and crash into a hangar. Two pilots, two medical technicians, a patient and a passenger were killed. An airport worker on the ground was also killed. N280AT was owned and operated by Air Trek of Punta Gorda, Fla. The accident was the first fatal crash involving a U.S.-registered business jet this year, according to Robert E. Breiling Associates.