New York Yankees’ catcher Yogi Berra might have said “it’s déjà vu all over again,” but it was a recent Challenger 600 accident that illustrated the well known saying. Although the outcome of a March 9 incident at Tupelo Regional Airport, Miss., was less serious than the outcome of the crash of the same type of airplane at Teterboro Airport, N.J., a month earlier (AIN, March, page 8), the circumstances are eerily similar.
N660RM, registered to Romeo Mike Aviation of Deerfield Beach, Fla., ran off the end of Runway 36 and severed its nose landing gear when the crew aborted the takeoff after it was unable to rotate the airplane. VMC prevailed. The jet received substantial damage, but the two pilots and five passengers were not injured.
Like the crew of N660RM, the crew of the Teterboro Challenger said they too were unable to rotate due to a jammed yoke.
According to the PIC, as reported by the NTSB, N660RM’s flaps were set at 20 degrees and the trim was set for takeoff. The PIC advanced the thrust levers to 93 percent and started the takeoff roll. The takeoff run and acceleration were normal. When the twinjet reached Vr (134 knots) and the PIC attempted to rotate the airplane, the crew told authorities, the control column would not move aft from the neutral position. They said that forward movement of the control column was normal. The aft movement beyond the neutral position felt as if the control column were locked against a stop.
At approximately Vr, the airplane was about 4,000 feet down the 6,550-ft runway and traveling at between 140 and 145 knots. The PIC commanded the abort, extended the spoilers, applied maximum braking and maximum reverse thrust and maintained centerline down the runway.
The PIC said that after he initiated the abort he continued to apply rearward pressure on the control column. He also said he was not sure whether he felt or heard a “crunch.”
He said something might have given and the control column might have moved aft of the neutral position. He said he heard or felt the “crunch” after or at the beginning of the abort procedure. The noise or the crunch could have come from below the flight deck, he noted.