Final Report: Misjudgement, Mechanical Woes Caused Overrun

 - October 24, 2006, 10:50 AM

Learjet 25B, Feb. 20, 2004, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.–The NTSB determined the probable cause was the pilot’s misjudged distance/speed while landing and the flight crew’s failure to follow prescribed emergency procedures. Factors were the flight crew’s inadequate in-flight planning/decision making, which resulted in a low-fuel condition; an open hydraulic relief valve; and inadequate maintenance. Additional factors were an inoperative primary brake system, an unactivated emergency drag chute, the flight crew’s failure to engage the emergency brake system and pressure placed on the flight crew due to conditions/events.

On a multi-destination flight over 16 hours, the Skylink Jets charter was returning two passengers to their base airport, Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE). Encountering stronger-than-anticipated headwinds on the final leg, the first officer voiced concern several times about the remaining fuel.

Approaching FXE, the captain became concerned about having to fly an extended downwind leg and told the controller the aircraft was low on fuel. The Learjet was cleared for a priority landing. The flaps would not extend beyond eight degrees. After the gear was lowered, the captain told the first officer, “The gear doors are stuck down…no hydraulics. OK, so we’re gonna do, this is gonna be a ref and 20…All right, probably not going to have any brakes…”

The airplane touched down about midway down the 6,001-foot dry runway. It overran the runway, struck a chain-link fence, crossed a road and hit a building. The ATP-rated captain was seriously injured, the ATP-rated first officer sustained minor injuries and the two flight nurses were uninjured.

After the landing, the first officer was unable to deploy the emergency drag chute. Neither crewmember attempted to activate the emergency brake system. The airplane had no thrust reversers.

The hydraulic pressure relief valve and regulator assembly were found to have numerous indentations and small gouges, consistent with being struck repeatedly with a tool. The valve piston was stuck open.

The flight had originated at FXE about 5:30 a.m. and flew to Turks and Caicos Islands, then to Barbados, where it picked up a patient and flew on to Caracas, Venezuela. The flight stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for refueling for the return flight to FXE. The accident happened at 9:57 that evening.