Final Report: Failure to follow IFR procedures damages aircraft

 - May 15, 2008, 10:14 AM

HAWKER SIDDELEY HS-125-700, JACKSON HOLE, WYO., DEC. 20, 2000–Two passengers and two pilots walked away from their substantially damaged aircraft after landing 195 ft left of the runway centerline. Night IMC prevailed for the ILS approach to Runway 18 into the Jackson Hole Airport (JAC). The Safety Board found probable cause to be “the pilot’s failure to follow IFR approach procedures and perform a missed approach when the runway was not in sight below approach minimums. Contributing factors were the copilot’s failure to follow current ILS approach procedures and use the correct frequency to turn on the runway lights, the snowy whiteout conditions near the ground and the dark-night light conditions.”

The two pilots, both ATP rated, began their day by repositioning the Hawker from Addison to Austin, Texas. Operating the aircraft under Part 135 for Million Air Dallas, they picked up two passengers and departed Austin at 2206 for Jackson Hole. As they approached JAC, the Salt Lake City Center controller gave the pilots the most recent weather: wind 250 deg at 10 kt gusting to 14 kt; visibility five miles; few clouds at 100 ft, 1,000 ft scattered, 1,600 ft overcast; temperature 25 deg F and dew point 16 deg F. The ILS requires a 300-ft ceiling and one mile visibility.

Salt Lake City ARTCC cleared the Hawker crew to descend from FL 310 to 16,000 ft at 0058 MST. The crew was then cleared to fly the full ILS to Runway 18 at 0108. Shortly thereafter, they were switched to the CTAF on 118.07 as the tower was closed at that hour.

Approximately five nautical miles from the airport the copilot had ground contact. The captain told investigators “the airport was in sight” and the PAPI lights were visible along the left side of the runway. He said he completed all landing checks and had the airplane centered on the localizer and glideslope. As he began the flare the captain said he entered “a type of whiteout condition” in blowing snow with a stiff crosswind from the west.

According to the captain, “The landing felt firm and the aircraft was on the runway.” He felt the nose drop and assumed the nosegear collapsed. Investigators found two ground tracks in the snow that were parallel to and 195 ft east of Runway 18, between it and the taxiway; the tracks began 3,300 ft south of Runway 18’s threshold and extended 600 ft in length. The airplane, heading east, was at the end of the tracks.

While the right wing showed “some separation” from the fuselage and had leading-edge damage, the left wing was broken and bent down beginning eight- to 10 ft from the tip. The nosegear separated and investigators found it 375 ft north of the wreckage.

Cockpit voice recorder (CVR) data revealed the captain’s query to turn up the lights when the aircraft was within five nautical miles of the airport. The copilot responded that the frequency should be 122.8. He tried to activate the lights four different times, according to the CVR recording. Approximately 30 sec before touchdown the copilot announced the arrival at decision height. The captain asked, “Got any runway lights?” The copilot answered, “Says activate on 122.8 and that’s what I’m on. Must be covered in snow.”

Since the airport lies within a national park the runway lights are off after the tower closes. During the winter months, the tower closes at 2200. While Salt Lake City ARTCC provides radar services for JAC, its coverage is lost below 12,000- to 13,000 ft due to mountainous terrain.

Investigators found two approach charts in the airplane. According to the final report, “One was out of date and showed the Unicom frequency as the CTAF. The other was current and showed the tower frequency as the CTAF.”