Final Reports - Citation II and Tractor Collided on Runway

 - July 8, 2010, 9:08 AM

The NTSB has ruled that the air traffic controller’s failure to monitor the runway environment properly caused the accident between the landing Citation II/SP and a mowing tractor that was attempting to cross the runway. Contributing
to the accident were the tractor operator’s failure to scan the active runway before crossing, and the FAA’s inadequate emphasis on vehicle operator visual vigilance when crossing runways with ATC clearance.
While landing at Reading Regional Airport/Carl A. Spatz Field following a Part 91 positioning flight, the Citation sustained substantial damage to its left wing when it struck a mowing tractor during rollout. The tower controller, who was also working ground control at the time of the accident, granted the Citation crew clearance to land on Runway 31, and then turned his attention to directing an aircraft that had just landed to the ramp. The controller was watching the taxiing aircraft when the tractor driver requested and received permission to cross Runway 31. As he began to cross the runway, the tractor driver did not scan the runway and instead concentrated his attention on the mowing unit on the left side of the vehicle.
The Citation captain stated that he saw the tractor moving from
the left and attempted to steer the airplane to the right of the runway but could not avoid the collision.
The twinjet struck the tractor’s raised mowing unit at a speed
of about 80 knots, shearing off approximately 10 feet of its left wing. The two-person flight crew and the tractor operator were uninjured in the accident.
The Board found that current FAA publications do not adequately address the need for ground vehicle operators to confirm visually that active runways/approaches are clear after they have received ATC permission to cross.