Poor Operating Procedures Blamed in Astra Crash

 - August 28, 2009, 9:06 AM

Gulfstream Astra SPX, Atlanta, Sept. 14, 2007–The NTSB blamed the accident on the pilot’s failure to initiate a missed approach and his failure to touch
down properly while landing in rain. Contributing to the accident was the operator’s lack of standard operating procedures and inadequate maintenance of the windshield.

The twinjet was substantially damaged during a runway overrun
at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport and the ATP-certified pilot sustained minor injuries. The pilot-in-command (PIC) of the flight was the flight department’s chief pilot. He had logged more than 10,000 flight hours, the majority of them in multiengine airplanes, including 2,200 hours in the Astra. He was in the right seat and was monitoring
the approach as the non-flying pilot. The other pilot, also a captain for the flight department and acting as the second-in-command (SIC), reported 16,042 hours of flight time, including more than 13,000 in multiengine airplanes and 1,500 hours in the Astra.

On the approach in moderate to heavy rain, the SIC turned on the windshield wipers and quickly lost sight of the runway. The PIC said he still had visual contact with the runway and began to direct the SIC before taking the controls. As the jet touched down and the speed brakes deployed, the crew realized there was approximately 1,000 feet of runway remaining. The tower  called for a go-around, but the airplane overran the end of the runway and struck the localizer antenna before
stopping near the airport fence.

During an interview with an NTSB investigator, the chief pilot stated that
he was confused about who was the PIC and advised that both he and the captain were “co-captains.” When asked about the flight department’s standard operating procedures, he responded that the department “did not have any.”

He also expressed confusion about the state of the windshield’s rain coating. The aircraft’s maintenance manual and the windshield component maintenance manual contained information about the cleaning, repair and recoating of the windshield. The aircraft suffered damage to the nose, wings, engines and landing gear. The first officer and two passengers received no injuries in the accident.