Final Report: Inadequate airspeed cited in Citation II crash

 - September 26, 2006, 9:18 AM

Cessna 550 Citation II, Venice, Fla., Aug. 25, 2004–The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the Citation accident was the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed, which resulted in a stall and undershoot of the runway.

The Grafair Citation II landed short of Runway 13 at Venice Municipal Airport but rolled out 1,500 feet down the runway before coming to a stop. Inbound, the pilot and copilot said that they saw several thunderstorms, one of which was a few miles from the airport. On approach, at 105 knots, they felt that a “tailwind or a downdraft was occurring.”

The sink rate increased dramatically and the jet landed short, but the pilot said he still had directional control. During the hard landing, the right and left main landing gear punctured the top of the wings and the flaps were damaged, though the nosegear stayed partially intact.

A witness reported that the aircraft was low on final approach with little or no flare. The flight data recorder showed that the jet slowed to 83 knots indicated during the last five seconds of the flight, with a vertical acceleration of 4gs.

Although a weight-and-balance for the flight was not submitted, the pilot said the airplane had 3,600 pounds of fuel on board departing from St. Lucie County International Airport in Fort Pierce, Fla., at about 3:45 p.m., for the 45-minute flight. The Citation flight manual chart indicated an 80-knot calibrated stall speed at 12,000 pounds gross weight in landing configuration.

The pilot, copilot and one passenger were not injured, but the airplane was substantially damaged.