Citation VII Experiences Control Problems

 - February 5, 2012, 3:35 AM

The NTSB has issued a preliminary report on a Dec. 28, 2011, incident in which a Cessna Citation VII was substantially damaged when it departed the runway during an emergency landing at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) and crashed into an airport perimeter fence. The Citation had just departed from FXE on a Part 91 flight to Teterboro, N.J. when, according to the crew, they began experiencing “extreme” difficulty in controlling the aircraft. The captain reported that he needed to apply “a little left control” before the Citation entered a slow right turn that he could not stop. The first officer estimated that the aircraft’s maximum roll angle approached 90 degrees of bank, and he noted there were no warning lights or advisories in the cockpit during the event.

Using rudder and asymmetric thrust, the captain was able to prevent the aircraft from rolling over. He maneuvered the twinjet back to FXE and lined it up on a runway for what he described as a “one-time shot,” but landed long. The aircraft suffered damage to the wing leading edge and nose gear as well as a slice through the cabin outer skin and ribs as it came to rest against an embankment just beyond the fence. The crew and six passengers were uninjured.

Post-accident investigation of the flight surfaces revealed that the right-wing roll spoiler extended upwards 7.9 degrees as soon as hydraulic pressure was applied from a ground power unit. Application of the flight controls resulted in the spoiler being extended normally, but when the controls were at rest it returned to its previous extended position. When the spoiler hold down switch was engaged, the roll spoiler would lock down, but as soon as the switch was deactivated it would extend again. The aircraft’s right roll spoiler bellcrank and hydraulic actuator were retained for further examination.