Final Report: Loss of Control Blamed For Learjet Accident

 - October 31, 2006, 5:42 AM

Learjet 25, Amarillo, Texas, July 1, 2005–Landing at Amarillo International Airport with a 17-knot crosswind, the 7,300-hour captain was unable to maintain directional control of the Air America Jet Charter Learjet. The airplane struck a runway distance marker and ran off the runway to the left. The left wingtip tank fuel load was 200 to 300 pounds heavier than the load in the right wingtip. About 30 miles from the airport, the pilot had noticed the left wingtip fuel tank was “heavy.” He started to transfer fuel, then stopped, preparing to land.

He said that during the final approach, the airplane “would not bank to the right without almost full right aileron.” The airplane “started raising right wing as full aileron was applied, even with the first officer assisting.” At this point, the right wing stopped coming up but would not go level. No discrepancies were found in the fuel transfer system. The airplane was substantially damaged but the crew and two passengers were not injured.

The NTSB blamed the accident on the pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll. A contributing factor was the prevailing crosswind.