Crash Investigation Reveals Several Causal Factors

 - November 16, 2006, 4:26 AM

The Safety Board determined that factors contributing to the Teterboro Challenger accident were Platinum Jet Management’s conduct of charter flights without FAA certification, false representation of itself as a charter operator and its failure to ensure that all for-hire flights were conducted in accordance with Part 135. Another contributing factor was Darby Aviation’s (Platinum Jet’s operating certificate holder) failure to maintain operational control, “which resulted in an environment conducive to the development of systemic patterns of flight crew performance deficiencies like those observed in this accident.” An example of this was the Board’s findings that Platinum Jet’s pilots “routinely improperly modified the airplane’s weight-and-balance forms, using a variety of invalid airplane empty weights to ensure that the form indicated that the airplane was operating within its limitations.” Also contributing to the accident was the failure of the FAA to provide adequate oversight of operations conducted under Darby’s Part 135 certificate. Finally, contributing to the accident was the FAA’s “tacit approval” of arrangements such as that between Darby and Platinum Jet.