CitationJet Crashed in Wintry Weather

 - February 12, 2008, 10:35 AM

The Cessna 525 CitationJet (N102PT) that crashed in a wooded area in West Gardiner, Maine, on February 1 was owned and flown by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jeanette Symons, a private pilot with an instrument rating. Symons and her 10-year-old son, Balan, were killed in the crash. According to the NTSB, IMC prevailed when the twinjet took off at 5:45 p.m., and an IFR flight plan was filed for a flight from Augusta, Maine to Lincoln, Neb. Representatives of the FBO at Augusta State Airport told the NTSB that the airplane was fueled and moved from the ramp into the FBO’s hangar earlier that morning but was moved back onto the ramp at 4:30 p.m. due to space issues. The NTSB said that in the hour-and-a-half preceding the CitationJet’s takeoff the weather had turned from light snow to freezing rain, and ice covered the cars in the FBO’s parking lot. Reports indicate that the jet was not de-iced. The NTSB said Symons did not turn on the pilot-controlled taxiway and runway lights, and the airplane reportedly went through an ice and snow-covered ditch while taxiing. Two minutes after taking off from Runway 17, Symons declared an emergency and said, “We’ve got an attitude indicator failure.” Radar contact was lost shortly after this transmission, and the wreckage was located about six miles south-southwest of Augusta State Airport.