Preliminary Report: Med flight crashes in Lake Michigan

 - August 27, 2007, 11:15 AM

Cessna 550 Citation II, Milwaukee, Wis., June 4, 2007 – The two crewmembers (ATP-rated pilots) and four passengers (a medical team from the University of Michigan Health System) were killed when the medical transport flight crashed into Lake Michigan near Milwaukee. (See AIN, July, page 14.) The Citation II had taken off on an IFR flight plan from Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) three minutes before the crash, en route to the airplane’s home base at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, near Detroit, a 42-minute flight. After takeoff, the crew declared an emergency, reporting a runaway trim condition, and said they intended to return to MKE. One of the pilots told the other to hold the airplane’s controls so he could pull circuit breakers.

Radar data showed the airplane climbing out from MKE and turning right. The initial climb lasted for approximately one minute, then the airplane leveled off for approximately 16 seconds at 3,900 feet. It then began another climb at about 1,300 fpm, to 4,400 feet. Then the airplane went into a descending left turn for the remaining 69 seconds of the radar data, at an average descent rate of 2,260 fpm.

Cockpit voice recorder information indicated that the crew had difficulty with directional control soon after takeoff. Examination of the wreckage revealed “pitch, roll and yaw trim settings that were not in the neutral position.”

The Citation II was registered to Air Toy and was leased from Marlin Air.