A University of North Dakota (UND) Cessna Citation II icing research aircraft made a successful deadstick landing near Beaver, Alaska, about 70 miles north of Fairbanks, after both engines lost power on September 30. In IMC at 9,200 feet, the Citation accumulated about seven-eighths of an inch of ice on the wing’s leading edge.
Turbine engines are extremely reliable and many business jet pilots go through their entire careers experiencing engine failures only during simulator training. But in mid-July, two Beechjet 400A pilots found out what it’s like to lose not just one engine in flight, but both of them. Fortunately for them and their seven passengers they were able to get one of the light jet’s engines restarted during the descent.
Several Beechjet flameouts have led the NTSB to make recommendations to prevent recurrences. The final recommendation, if adopted, would have wide implications: require the FAA and industry to pursue research to develop an ice detector that would alert pilots to internal engine icing and require that it be installed on new production turbofan engines and retrofitted to existing turbofan engines.
The third Beechjet dual engine flameout in less than two years has left NTSB investigators, as well as aircraft manufacturer Raytheon and engine maker Pratt & Whitney Canada, scratching their heads. Meanwhile, without any answers or precise operating guidance, Beechjet pilots, owners and passengers are left to ponder a disturbing trend.
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