NTSB: Crew in Falcon 50 Crash Not Qualified

 - October 8, 2018, 1:48 PM

The crew flying the Dassault Falcon 50—N114TD, operated by Air American Flight Services—involved in a fatal crash at South Carolina’s Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) on September 27 at 1:46 p.m. was not qualified to operate the trijet, according to an NTSB preliminary report issued on Friday. After landing, the jet overran the runway, traveled across a flat grassy area, continued down a 50-foot embankment, and came to rest with its nose severed from the fuselage on the airport perimeter road about 425 feet from the runway, the NTSB said.

According to the report, the left-seat pilot, identified by Greenville officials as John Caswell, had an ATP certificate with a SIC type rating for the Falcon 50. But the other pilot, Stephen Fox, had only a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land; he lacked an instrument rating and any type approval in the Falcon, the NTSB report notes. Both pilots died in the accident and the two passengers suffered critical injuries.

Air traffic controllers at GMU reported that the airplane touched down “normally” at the typical touchdown point on the runway. They saw the airplane's sole thrust reverser on the center engine deploy, but then “watched as the airplane ‘did not decelerate’ as it continued down the runway,” the report notes.

Investigators found the slats and flaps were extended, both the right and left spoilers were extended, and both main landing gear were fractured at the trunnion and displaced aft into the flaps. The report notes that the braking anti-skid switch was in the number-one position, and there was an inoperative placard next to the switch, dated the day of the accident. Further, the number-two and -three engine fire handles were pulled, and the parking brake was in the normal (off) position, according to the report.

First responders reported that all three engines were operating at full power for at least 20 minutes after the accident, with one engine running until about 40 minutes after the accident.

Reported weather at GMU seven minutes after the accident included wind from 210 degrees at six knots and 10 statute miles visibility. The NTSB said the flight was being conducted under Part 91.


It looks to me a clear case of pilot anxiety triggered by the fact the PIC was not qualified. This anxiety resulted in his pinching of the TOGA button on the accelerator, thus sending all three engines at max power, preventing any braking attempt to stop the plane, one of the pilots after recognicing engines at full power decided to shut uf the outter engines 1&3 but too late to be of help.

I don’t the the toga switch would have made a difference. That would have only worked the flight director and the auto pilot would have been disengaged prior to landing. Don’t think a 50 has auto throttle, problem was the anti skid failure. If I had to guess I would bet caused by bad ground speed input from wheel speed sensor. No brakes until your below a certain ground speed. That would explain why anti skid was failing and normal braking failed. Everything else was just pilots overreaction. Once cockpit separated from aircraft, lost engine computer control. With landing gear ripped off, aircraft defaulted to air mode and engines ran away. Pulling the fire handles would have no effect since the fuel control is mechanical and not electrical. It would have shut the hydraulic valves, causing loss of steering. Possible why it ran sideways off the runway.

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