NTSB Identification: SEA07LA152
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 10, 2007 in Santa Barbara, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/10/2008
Aircraft: Dassault-Breguet Mystere Falcon 900, registration: N914DD
Injuries: 15 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The captain supervised the fueling and the weight and balance computations, while the first officer filled out the takeoff and landing distance (TOLD) card; a center of gravity (CG) location was not computed. The first officer entered a takeoff gross weight of 45,400 pounds on the TOLD card, with the V-speeds for that weight entered on the card (V1 116 knots and Vr 129 knots). Post accident calculations revealed that the actual gross takeoff weight was 46,481 pounds and the CG was 15.73% of mean aerodynamic chord (MAC), which was within the maximum gross takeoff weight and center of gravity limits of 46,500 pounds and 14 to 31% MAC, respectively. The V-speeds for the actual gross weight are V1 118 knots and Vr 131 knots. The crew set the stabilizer trim at -5.5 degrees, which is in the takeoff range, from -4.5 degrees to -7.5 degrees. The -4.5 degree position is labeled “AFT” and is the right position for aft CG locations, while the -7.5 degree position is labeled “FWD” and is the right position for forward CG locations. For the airplane’s calculated CG of 15.73% MAC, the right setting for the stabilizer trim should have been between -7 and -7.5 degrees. The captain said that everything was normal in the takeoff. The first officer called V1, followed by Vr, at which time he pulled back on the yoke, but with no response. When the speed was well into the upper 130-knot range he relaxed the yoke, then pulled aft again, and again there was no response from the airplane. The captain aborted the takeoff and the airplane came to rest 580 feet off the end of the runway, after impacting a berm. A post accident inspection of the airplane revealed that all systems were operating within allowable tolerances. Post accident simulator testing revealed that when configured for takeoff in the accident conditions, stabilizer trim set to -5.5 degrees and V speeds set for 45,400 pounds, a delay of 2 to 4 seconds was noted from the time an up elevator input was made to the time the airplane reacted in pitch. When the simulator was configured with the stabilizer trim set to -7.0 degrees and the V speeds set for 46,480 pounds, there was no delay in airplane response to elevator input.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The erroneous gross weight calculation and improper trim setting by the captain, which resulted in the airplane's failure to rotate at Vr as expected and the captain's decision to perform to a high speed aborted takeoff.

Full narrative available

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