Factual Reports: Taxiing Sabreliner Wreaks Havoc at FXE

 - February 24, 2010, 5:51 AM

Sabreliner NA-265-80, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 1, 2008–While taxiing the Sabreliner from the repair station–following a months-long stay for corrosion repairs–the pilots attempted to maneuver around a Cessna Caravan that had stopped, facing it on the same ramp. As it passed, the Sabreliner’s left wing struck the Caravan’s rotating propeller, causing damage to both aircraft. The twinjet continued moving at an estimated 10 knots and crashed into a Hawker that was being towed, forcing the tug drivers to flee the still moving vehicle. It then hit another stationary Sabreliner, before finally stopping 20 to 30 yards past the Caravan.

In a statement given after the accident, the Sabreliner’s pilot noted that all gauges were indicating correctly and that all systems were functioning during the initial taxiing, but as the jet passed the Caravan it began to veer to the left. The pilot said the airplane “did not respond” to his steering input and that the brakes were not functioning properly. The copilot stated that the brakes failed and said application of the emergency brake had no effect. Neither crewmember noted any alarms signifying a hydraulic system problem.

During the post-accident investigation, FAA inspectors and a technician from the repair center found the aircraft’s hydraulic system was in good condition with the exception of the warning horn/clacker that was intended to provide an alert when the aircraft’s hydraulic switch was in the off position while the master engine switches were on. During subsequent tests, the horn did not sound, although the “hydraulic power off” and “master caution” warning lights on the annunciator panel did illuminate. Both wings, the nose and left engine nacelle of the Sabreliner were substantially damaged, while the stationary Sabreliner sustained substantial damage to its right wing and fuselage. The Hawker also experienced fuselage damage, while the Caravan had a damaged propeller. One of the tug tractor’s drivers suffered minor injuries.