Birds Blamed in Citation I Crash

 - August 6, 2009, 1:32 PM

The NTSB said the probable cause of a crash in Oklahoma City of a Cessna Citation I was airplane wing-structure damage sustained during impact with one or more large birds–identified as American white pelicans–which resulted in a loss of control of the airplane. “While the Board has determined that it was the birdstrike that brought down this airplane,” said Board member Mark Rosenker, “this investigation also uncovered improper and noncompliant charter operations that should have been identified and discontinued by the FAA.” At approximately 3:15 p.m. CST on March 4, 2008, the Citation, which was registered to Southwest Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic, entered a steep descent and crashed about two minutes after takeoff from Oklahoma City Wiley Post Airport. Both pilots and the three passengers were killed and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire. The NTSB issued 11 recommendations to the FAA as a result of this crash, chief among them revising birdstrike certification requirements for transport-category (Part 25) airplanes. Other recommendations call for more stringent verification of airport wildlife hazard assessments and reporting of wildlife strikes. As a side note, the NTSB also wants the FAA to explore and implement strategies to improve on-site inspector surveillance activities at airports and of flight operations to detect and deter improper charter operations.