Final Report: Icy Runways Led to Two Jet Mishaps

 - January 29, 2010, 6:41 AM

Dassault Falcon 20, Jamestown, N.Y., Dec. 21, 2008–Icy runway conditions prevented the crew from stopping the airplane on landing, according to the NTSB. A contributing factor was the failure of the drag chute to deploy properly. The twinjet was substantially damaged when it overran the runway while landing at Chautauqua County/Jamestown Airport around 1 a.m. The operator, Ameristar Jet Charter, reported that a Notam issued by the airport for the accident runway was in effect reporting thin loose snow over patchy ice.

According to the captain, the runway surface was visible but was “a solid sheet of ice.” Upon landing, the copilot, who was flying at the time, reported no braking action. The captain then took the controls and ordered the drag chute deployed at an approximate airspeed of “no less than 100 knots.” The aircraft came to a halt approximately 100 feet into the overrun after striking a snow berm. Post-accident investigation revealed that the chute had failed to deploy and remained mostly inside its tailcone container. Investigators found no problems with the chute or its packing, and documentation from Dassault stated that the drag chute should be deployed as soon as possible after landing.

The airport manager stated that the runway had been plowed and sanded along its full length. He noted that the airport does not use chemical de-icers. After the accident, airport staff described the runway as “slick but not ice covered.” Weather conditions around the time of the accident were 18 degrees F with a visibility of 10 sm. Neither the pilot nor copilot was injured. Examination of the aircraft revealed substantial damage to its nose gear and fuselage buckling.

Hawker Beechcraft 390 Premier I, Lewistown, Mo., Dec. 23, 2008– According to the NTSB, the pilot’s loss of directional control during landing on an ice-contaminated runway was the cause of the accident. N20NL departed the single runway at Sharpe Farms, a private-use airport, after the pilot reported loss of grip on the surface, which appeared “wet.” The pilot considered a go-around, but changed his mind due to the remaining length of runway. He then slid the aircraft left and right in an unsuccessful attempt to increase grip. The twinjet departed the end of the runway and went over an embankment. The two pilots and two passengers were uninjured in the accident. The airplane suffered substantial damage.