Poor Tire Mx, Late Reject Caused 2008 Learjet 60 Crash

 - April 6, 2010, 10:35 AM

During a public hearing today, the NTSB issued the probable cause and 14 new recommendations related to the Learjet 60 overrun accident in Columbia, S.C., on Sept. 19, 2008. The captain, first officer and two passengers were killed in the crash; two other passengers were seriously injured. According to the Safety Board, the probable cause of this accident was the operator’s “inadequate” maintenance of the Learjet 60’s tires, resulting in multiple tire failures during the takeoff roll due to severe underinflation, as well as the captain executing a rejected takeoff after V1, “which was inconsistent with her training and standard operating procedures.” Contributing factors listed by the NTSB include “deficiencies” in the design and FAA certification of the Learjet 60’s thrust reverser system, which permitted the failure of critical systems in the wheel well area to result in uncommanded forward thrust that increased the severity of the accident; Learjet’s and the FAA’s failure to detect and correct the thrust reverser and wheel well design deficiencies after a 2001 uncommanded forward thrust accident; inadequate industry training standards for flight crews in tire-failure scenarios; and the flight crew’s “poor crew resource management.” The NTSB also issued 14 new recommendations, many related to tire maintenance and aircraft certification (see tomorrow’s issue of AINmxReports for more). Other recommendations pertain to pilot training, qualification and duties, including more realistic simulator training of tire-failure scenarios and other non-engine-related events at, near or after V1; requiring Part 135 pilots to have a minimum time in type and minimum operating experience, not just a type rating; and allowing pilots to perform tire pressure checks.