Birdstrike Doomed Citation

 - August 28, 2009, 9:07 AM

Cessna Citation 500, Oklahoma City, Okla., March 4, 2008–The Board has determined that wing structural damage caused by one or more large birdstrikes
was the probable cause of the crash of the Citation, which destroyed the aircraft and killed the two pilots and three passengers on board. The twinjet, N113SH, was operating under Part 91 on a filed IFR flight plan, and the pilots lost control shortly after takeoff from Wiley Post Airport. Radar traces revealed the airplane climbed to 3,100 feet before beginning a steep descent. A witness at the scene reported hearing a sound that resembled an “engine compressor stall,” and noted smoke trailing from the vicinity of the right engine as the airplane descended shortly before it crashed, setting off a fireball. The witness also reported seeing bird parts falling from the sky. Remains taken from the jet’s horizontal and vertical stabilizers were identified as American white pelican.

Investigation into the accident also revealed irregularities with the aircraft management as none of the entities associated with the flight claimed to be its operator. The airplane was registered to Southwest Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Clinic of Oklahoma City. At the time of the accident, Interstate Helicopters was operating the airplane in commercial service contrary to its operating certificate, which did not authorize operation of fixed-wing aircraft. “While the Board has determined that it was the birdstrike that brought down this airplane, this investigation also uncovered improper and noncompliant charter operations that should have been identified and discontinued by the FAA,” said then-acting NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker. Neither pilot in the accident was trained or qualified to fly the aircraft under Part 135 charter operations, and the aircraft was not maintained in accordance with Part 135 commercial maintenance requirements, according
to Board findings.