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On January 21, 2004, at approximately 0040 mountain standard time, a Dassault Aviation DA-20 Falcon Jet, N200JE, operated by Jet Ex, Incorporated, was substantially damaged during landing on runway 08L at the Pueblo Memorial Airport (PUB), Pueblo, Colorado. The airline transport certificated captain, airline transport certificated first officer, and the 3 passengers on board the airplane reported no injuries. The personal flight was being conducted on an instrument flight rules flight plan from St. Louis, Missouri, to PUB, under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight originated at 2315 central standard time.
The captain reported that he was the pilot-in-command and the pilot flying at the time of the accident. He said he obtained weather briefings from the St. Louis Flight Service Station and from Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). He said they did not include any NOTAMS (Notice to Airman) of a contaminated runway at PUB. The captain said they had obtained a report from the local fixed base operator at PUB that a Learjet had landed earlier and reported the runway as being okay. The captain said the tower was closed on their arrival, so they made a low pass to inspect the runways. Based on the runway and wind conditions, they decided their best choice for landing was on runway 08L. The captain said the landing was normal and the airplane initially decelerated with normal braking. As they encountered snow and ice patches, the captain said he elected to deploy the thrust reversers. The captain said that as the thrust reversers deployed, the airplane began to yaw to the left and differential braking failed to realign the airplane with the runway. The captain said the airplane departed the left side of the runway and rotated counter clockwise approximately 200-225 degrees before coming to rest on a southwesterly heading.
The first officer confirmed the captain's statements. He said that his last flight with the captain prior to the accident flight had been less than a year previous.
Both pilots said there were no prior problems with the thrust reversers. The captain stated that he seldom used the thrust reversers during landing for passenger comfort, but always performed the required check of them during taxi for takeoff.
The company reported that the pilot received several weather reports en route stating that visual meteorological conditions prevailed at PUB. The pilot circled the airport to determine runway conditions and then decided to land on runway 08, as it appeared to have very little to no snow on it. After a normal touchdown, the pilot applied the brakes. The airplane was not slowing quickly, so the pilot deployed the thrust reversers. The airplane yawed and departed the runway. The company's chief pilot stated he was unaware of any problems associated with the thrust reversers.
A witness on the airport said that at 0003, he received a radio call from the crew stating they needed fuel and that they were 35 minutes out. The witness said he did not know the exact time the airplane touched down, but estimated it was around their estimated time of arrival. The witness said, "I watched them touch down. I heard the [thrust] reversers go on and then off, and then on again. As they came back on for the second time, that's when the plane started making full circles on the runway. This happened two, maybe three times before going off the side of the runway. At this point, I dialed 9-1-1 and requested assistance."
At 0007:20, the pilot requested from Denver ARTCC the weather for PUB. Denver ARTCC reported to the pilot that the conditions at PUB were "winds calm, visibility six, light mist, overcast three thousand, temperature zero, dew point minus one, Pueblo altimeter three zero two zero, and there is at least a half inch of slush on all surfaces." The pilot acknowledged the information.
The airplane, serial number 133, was owned and operated by Jet Ex, Incorporated. It was used primarily for business. The airplane was being maintained under a manufacturer's inspection program. The most recent continuous airworthiness inspection was conducted on September 17, 2003. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had a total time of 8,351.5 hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane had a total time of 8,378.5 hours.
At 0035, the Aviation Routine Weather Report for PUB was 2,800 overcast, 7 miles visibility with blowing snow in the area, temperature 32 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 31 degrees F, winds calm, and altimeter 30.20 inches.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest approximately in a field 150 feet north and 5,000 feet down from the approach end of runway 8L (10,496 feet by 150 feet, wet asphalt). The airplane was resting upright on the right wing, left main landing gear, and fuselage.
The right main landing gear was folded up into the right main gear inboard door. The gear door and bottom wing skin aft of the door were crushed inward. The right main landing gear outboard and rear bulkheads were bent inward and buckled aft.
The right wing outboard leading edge flap was crushed downward and aft beginning at the wing tip and running approximately 6 feet inboard. The top and bottom wing skins aft of the leading edge flap were crushed aft, starting at the wing tip and running approximately 7 feet inboard. The right flap was bent upward at the outboard flap track. The outboard flap track jackscrew was bent outward. The flap top skin was wrinkled.
The aft pressure bulkhead was bent and buckled outward approximately 1 inch on the right side fuselage beginning at the leading edge of the right engine nacelle pylon and proceeding downward to the bottom of the fuselage. Fuselage skin immediately aft of this area was buckled.
The right engine showed dirt and debris in the engine inlet. The right engine thrust reverser was observed partially deployed. The blocker doors on the left thrust reverser were in the stowed position. The left engine showed dirt and debris in the engine inlet. The left engine thrust reverser was observed fully deployed with the blocker doors extended.
Cockpit readings showed the power levers at flight idle with the thrust reverser activation levers in the stowed position. The flap indicator showed 40 degrees of flap extension. The airbrakes and landing gear indicators showed they were in the extended position. The antiskid switch was on. An examination of the brakes showed no excessive wear, overheating, or evidence of fluid leakage.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Local police requested and obtained blood and urine samples from the pilot and copilot, shortly after the accident. Test results on the pilot and copilot were negative for drugs and alcohol.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The NOTAM log for PUB showed that on January 20, 2004, at 2115, PUB was reporting 1/2 inch wet snow on all surfaces. The next NOTAM issued for PUB was at 0130 stating the airport was closed.
The airport operations manager reported that at the time of the accident the runway surface was covered with 3/4 inch of wet snow.
According to airport officials, the Pueblo Memorial Airport is open for operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, the air traffic control tower closes daily at 2200. After that time the airport operates under a common traffic advisory frequency. Airport operations personnel are on the field until approximately 2300. Aircraft landing at PUB after 2300 and requesting services must coordinate with the on-field fixed base operator in advance. The airport maintains a fire department, which is manned 24-hours a day.
The thrust reversers were examined on March 24, 2004, at Pueblo, Colorado. Both thrust reversers were manufactured by Aeronca (Left, Part Number 232-20100-505, right, Part Number 232-20100-506) and placarded for "Fan Jet Falcon [models] C, D, E, and F." A functional test of the left thrust reverser showed normal operation. A functional test of the right thrust reverser (serial number 118-2) revealed a stuck solenoid, which prevented the thrust reverser from operating when bleed air was applied.
Parties to the investigation were the FAA Flight Standards District Office, Denver, Colorado, and Jet Ex, Incorporated.