NTSB Cites Crew Decision In Learjet 55 Accident

 - April 18, 2007, 6:49 AM

The National Transportation Safety Board last week issued its final report on a February 21 accident at Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport in which a Learjet 55, landing in extreme adverse weather conditions, ran off the end of the runway. Witnesses said that seconds after landing, the aircraft encountered “a wall of water” produced by a severe microburst. Moments later the airplane ran off the end of the runway, shearing the main and nose landing gear and resulting in what an NTSB investigator called “significant hull damage.” The airplane, on a VFR positioning flight, was on the Part 135 certificate of Hop-A-Jet, but was not being operated on behalf of the Ft. Lauderdale-based charter company at the time. According to the report, neither the captain nor copilot–the sole occupants–was injured in the accident. The NTSB determined the probable cause to be, “the flight crew's decision to continue the approach into [a] known area of potentially severe weather (thunderstorm), which resulted in the flight encountering a 30-knot crosswind, heavy rain, low-level wind shear, and hydroplaning on an ungrooved, contaminated runway.” The NTSB report also noted that during the Learjet's approach the crew was advised of adverse weather conditions, including 35-knot winds with gusts, a low-level wind shear advisory and standing water on the runway.