Preliminary Report: Westwind crashes on approach

 - January 10, 2008, 4:45 AM

ISRAEL AIRCRAFT INDUSTRIES 1124A, TAOS, N.M., NOV. 8, 2002–The only occupants, both airline transport-rated pilots, of the Westwind were killed when the aircraft crashed on approach to Taos Municipal Airport (SKX). The accident occurred at approximately 2:57 p.m. after the Westwind passed the initial approach fix for the VOR/DME-B approach. N61RS was registered to Abrams Aviation of Auburn, Ala., and operated by Richmor Aviation of Hudson, N.Y.

The aircraft was operating in VMC and on an instrument flight plan for a Part 91 flight that originated in Las Vegas approximately an hour earlier. It was scheduled to pick up a passenger in Taos.

Radar data indicates the airplane passed the TAS Vortac at 2:56 p.m. at an altitude of 15,000 ft msl. Albuquerque Center controllers then heard a “Mayday” radio call and radar contact was lost about a minute later with the airplane at an altitude of 14,700 ft msl. There was no further communication.

A witness reported the airplane was heading west and he heard the engines power up and power down. He then saw the aircraft making a descending left turn until it crashed, erupting in a large fireball.

An examination of the accident site revealed that after it hit the ground, aircraft wreckage struck power lines and crossed a state highway before stopping. The cockpit voice recorder was recovered and the NTSB is investigating.