NTSB Decries Lack of Recorders on Learjet

 - November 21, 2006, 5:00 AM

The final NTSB report on the Dec. 23, 2003 crash of a Learjet 24B near Helendale, Calif., released last week, concluded that the probable cause was loss of control for undetermined reasons. Twenty minutes after Pavair’s Learjet N600XJ left San Bernardino County Airport, Chino, Calif., bound for Hailey, Idaho, the crew requested a return without declaring an emergency. But when the jet was descending through 23,000 feet at 10,000 fpm, they declared an emergency. It was the crew’s last transmission. Both the pilot and copilot were killed in the crash. The airplane was not equipped with a cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder and federal regulations did not require them. “This is another example of where a recording device–whether a voice recorder, data recorder or a video recorder–would have greatly helped investigators determine what happened,” NTSB acting chairman Mark Rosenker said. “An opportunity to improve aviation safety was lost here.”