The captain admitted that his aircraft was hot and high on the approach and that he ignored the first officer’s repeated warnings to go around, according to the NTSB’s preliminary report of the May 1 runway overrun accident at Baltimore-Washington International Airport involving a Flight Options Beechjet 400A (N498CW).
“When we were six miles out, I didn’t hear that we were cleared for the visual approach. The FMS locked up on me, so I was distracted,” the captain told investigators. “We were on an assigned heading, on vectors, at an altitude that was higher than I thought we should be. I asked the first officer, ‘Are we cleared for the visual?’ and he said, ‘Yes, we are.’ I put down the flaps and the gear and I said, ‘We are high and we are fast, but we’ll be okay. The first officer said, ‘Hey man, we need to go around.’ But we were over the threshold and I thought we were okay. We touched down, but I don’t know where exactly. The first officer said, ‘We’re not going to make it,’ but I thought we would. I thought it was too late to go around.”
When the twinjet crossed the threshold of 5,000-ft-long Runway 15L, it was about 300 ft agl and the captain said the airspeed was “Vref plus 25. Vref was 113 knots, and we were doing about 140.” The captain explained that he was “locked out” of the FMS because both pilots were attempting to simultaneously program the system.
According to the first officer, ATC assigned a heading of 210 or 220 at 4,000 ft and “we were given direct to the airport. At that time, I was putting the ILS into the FMS at the same time the captain was putting in the frequencies.” At this time, the jet was cleared for the visual. “As we turned final I thought we were too high, and the tower called and asked if we could make it. I said that we could, but then it appeared that we could not. At one-quarter mile I said, ‘I think we should go around.’” When the airplane was 1,000 ft down the runway and hadn’t touched down yet, the first officer repeated, “We need to go around. A couple of seconds later we touched down and I said again, ‘We’re not going to make it.’ At that point, there was no chance. The thrust reversers were already deployed, and I popped the speed brakes…I thought we were Vref (113 knots) plus 40, and coming down at 1,700 fpm. When we touched down, maybe 50 to 60 percent of the runway remained.”
ATC transcripts and radar data revealed that the jet was five miles from the airport at 3,000 ft and traveling 238 kt when the tower controller asked, “Are you going to be able to get down?” Forty seconds later, at about 4:50 p.m., the target was still at 3,000 ft, traveling 207 kt, and had closed to within three miles of the airport. When the jet was cleared to land, it was at 2,300 ft, about two miles from the airport and traveling at 190 kt.
The captain reported 3,000 hr of flight experience, of which 1,100 hr were in the Beechjet. The first officer also reported 3,000 hr of flight experience, 280 of which were in the Beechjet. Neither the crew nor the four passengers were injured. There were also no injuries in an earlier overrun involving a Flight Options aircraft. In that accident on February 10, a Mitsubishi Diamond, with only crew on board, slid off a wet runway at the company’s home airport (Cleveland Cuyahoga) in IMC with light snow.