A Beechjet 400A operated by Travel Management Company diverted and safely landed at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York after experiencing a left engine flameout over northwestern Pennsylvania while cruising at FL390 on Saturday afternoon, according to information from the FAA and FlightAware. This marks the fifth in-flight engine flameout involving a Beechjet, including three dual flameouts of this type.
TMC Flight 460 departed from Louisville, Kentucky and was originally en route to New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport with actress Jennifer Lawrence on board. In a statement, the FAA said the Beechjet landed in Buffalo at about 1:40 p.m., though FlightAware data pegs the landing at 1:15 p.m. “The crew diverted to Buffalo when they declared an emergency due to engine-related issues,” the FAA said, adding that it is investigating the incident.
According to TMC CEO Scott Wise and v-p of operations Chip Schultz, the left engine flamed out at cruising altitude and the pilots made two in-air restart attempts before diverting to Buffalo. Though it as widely reported that the right engine flamed out on short final to Buffalo, Wise told AIN that was not the case. “They landed—and taxied to the ramp,” he said. Wise suggested that perhaps the story originated with a passenger mistaking the sound of the engine powering down for landing as an engine failure. Because there was a celebrity on board, multiple entertainment-related news outlets posted accounts of the incident, including the erroneous account of a double flameout. “The right engine never quit, and it was a textbook single-engine landing,” added Schultz. He said TMC is conducting an internal investigation of the left engine failure, in cooperation with the FAA probe.
Following four Beechjet flameout incidents, the NTSB issued an urgent recommendation in August 2006 due to the possibility of compressor surge after ingesting ice crystals at high altitude. “Beechjet 400 pilots [should] activate ignition and anti-ice systems at high altitude whenever they are in or near visible moisture, or near convective storm activity, or before any power reduction while in those conditions,” the NTSB said at the time.
Updated 3:43 p.m. June 12, 2017 to reflect that only one engine (left) flamed out and add comments from TMC executives.