Final Report: Midfield touchdown, tailwind caused Citation overrun

 - December 14, 2007, 6:15 AM

CESSNA CITATION S550, BIG BEAR, CALIF., AUG. 13, 2002–The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the Citation runway accident was the pilot’s failure to obtain the proper touchdown point, which resulted in an overrun. Contributing factors were the pilot’s improper in-flight planning, improper use of performance data, the tailwind condition, failure to perform a go-around and the pilot-induced porpoising, according to the Safety Board.

On final approach to Runway 26 at Big Bear (L35), the flight crew of Citation N50BK was warned by a flight instructor in the pattern of wind shear on approach, which the crew acknowledged. The captain said that after landing smoothly on Runway 26, he applied normal braking without any response. He maintained brake-pedal pressure and activated the engine thrust reversers without any response. The copilot said he considered the approach normal and that the captain did all he could to stop the airplane, first applying the brakes and then pulling up on the thrust reversers twice, with no sensation of slowing at all.

Considering the double malfunction and the mountainous terrain, the captain elected not to go around. The aircraft subsequently overran the end of the 5,860-foot runway, went through the airport boundary fence and came to rest upright in a dry lakebed approximately 400 feet from the departure end of the runway. The five passengers and two crewmembers left the aircraft safely and without injuries before it was consumed by fire. Witnesses reported the aircraft touched down at midfield, was too fast, porpoised and was bouncing. Passengers recalled a very hard landing, being thrown about the cabin, and that the speed was excessive.

The airplane was registered to Melita Eagle of Wilmington, Del., and was operated by Corporate Flight International of Las Vegas, Nev. VMC prevailed and an IFR flight plan was filed for the Part 135 on-demand air-taxi flight from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS). The sky was clear, wind was 290 degrees at seven knots and the density altitude was 9,400 feet.