Final Reports: Cargo door opened in flight

 - July 30, 2008, 7:29 AM

Cessna CitationJet 525, Van Nuys, Calif., Jan. 12, 2007–The NTSB determined that the crash of the Sunquest Executive Air Charter CitationJet was due to “the pilot’s failure to maintain an adequate airspeed during the initial climb, resulting in an inadvertent stall/spin.” Contributing to the accident were the second pilot’s inadequate preflight, failure to properly secure the front baggage door and the front left baggage door’s opening in flight. Both pilots were killed.

Line personnel said that while the jet was being fueled, the second pilot loaded several bags in the left front baggage compartment, then pulled the door down but did not lock or latch it. On takeoff, the door was closed at midfield but near the end of the runway it was seen open and “standing straight up.” The airplane turned slightly left and leveled off, flying slowly.

It started to descend and the wings rocked slightly before it stalled, turned to the right and crashed into the ground.