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On July 13, 2004, about 1920 Atlantic standard time, a Learjet 35A, N829CA, registered to Antilles Aircraft Leasing Inc. and operated by Aviation Jet Charters, Inc., as a Title 14 CFR Part 91, air ambulance positioning flight, landed short and impacted with a fence during landing on runway 10 at Vance W. Amory Airport, Newcastle, St. Kitts and Nevis. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The airline transport-rated pilot, the airline transport-rated copilot, and two medical personnel reported no injuries. The airplane incurred substantial damage. The flight originated from Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, earlier that day, about 1900.
The flightcrew stated that approximately 8 miles out on a visual approach for runway 10 they requested winds and altimeter setting from the control tower. They received altimeter setting 29.95 inches Hg., and winds from 090 degrees at 20 knots. About 5 miles out, in full landing configuration, they checked wind conditions again, and were told 090 at 16 knots. They were holding Vref of 125 knots plus 10 knots on final. The approach was normal until they got a downdraft on short final. The airplane sank and they reacted by immediately adding engine power and increasing pitch, but the airplane continued to sink. The airplane's main landing gear came in contact with the top of the barbwire fencing at the approach end of the runway. The airplane landed short of the threshold. The airplane was under control during the roll out and they taxied to the ramp. They exited the airplane through the main entrance.
The Captain holds a U.S. FAA airline transport pilot certificate with airplane multiengine land and Learjet ratings, last issued on March 14, 1995. The Captain also holds a FAA airplane single engine land rating at the private pilot level. The Captain holds a U.S. FAA first class medical certificate issued on May 26, 2004, with the limitation that the holder must wear corrective lenses while exercising the privileges of the certificate. The Captain was hired by Aviation Jet Charters, Inc. on August 21, 1994. The Captain received a 6 month instrument proficiency check, in accordance with Title 14 CFR Part 135.297, on April 26, 2004. The Captain received a 12 month recurrent check, 6 month instrument check, and a 12 month line check, as required by Title 14 CFR Part 135, on September 12, 2003. At the time of the accident the Captain reported he had accumulated 6,500 total flight hours with 539 flight hours in the Learjet. All Learjet flight hours was reported to be as pilot-in-command.
The First Officer holds a U.S. FAA airline transport pilot certificate with airplane multiengine land and Learjet ratings, last issued on June 18, 2000. The First Officer also holds a FAA airplane single engine land rating at the commercial pilot level. The First Officer holds a U.S. FAA first class medical certificate issued on May 28, 2004, with the no limitations. The First Officer was hired by Aviation Jet Charters, Inc. on March 5, 2000. The First Officer received a 12 month recurrent check as required by Title 14 CFR Part 135, on September 12, 2003. At the time of the accident the First Officer reported he had accumulated 10,000 total flight hours with 539 flight hours in the Learjet.
The airplane is a Learjet model 35A, serial number 459, manufactured in 1981. The airplane was equipped with 2 Garrett TFE-731-2-2B, 3,500 thrust pound engines. At the time of the accident the airplane had accumulated 9,899 total flight hours. The airplane was last inspected on March 3, 2004, 175 flight hours before the accident, when it received an inspection in accordance with the operators continuous airworthiness program.
A special weather observation was taken at the Vance W. Amory International Airport at 1930, 10 minutes after the accident. The special weather observation was winds 090 at 15 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, scattered clouds at 2,000, temperature 27 degrees centigrade, dewpoint temperature 23 degrees centigrade, altimeter setting 29.95 inches hg.
The flightcrew reported that when they were on an 8 mile final approach the air traffic controller reported the winds were from 090 degrees at 20 knots, and when they were on a 5 mile final approach the air traffic controller reported the winds were from 090 degrees at 16 knots. They reported that they encountered a downdraft on short final approach.
The Vance W. Amory International Airport, Newcastle, Nevis, West Indies, is located at 17 degrees, 12 minutes, 30 seconds North Latitude and 062 degrees, 35 minutes, 60 seconds West Longitude. The airport has 1 asphalt runway which is identified as 10 and 28. The runway is 4,003 feet long. The landing distance available on runway 10, the runway used by the accident flight, is 3,428 feet and the runway has a 575 foot displaced threshold. Runway 10 is equipped with a precision approach path indicator (PAPI) which is set at a 3.5 degree approach slope to the runway and allows for a 20 foot threshold crossing altitude.
The airplane was equipped with a Fairchild GA-100 cockpit voice recorder (CVR). The CVR was removed from the airplane after the accident and shipped to the NTSB, Vehicle Recorder Laboratory, Washington, D.C., for readout. Readout of the CVR indicated that all sounds recorded were from previous flights and that the CVR was not operational at the time of the accident. No sounds from the accident flight were recorded on the CVR.
Wreckage and Impact Information
Examination of the accident area by representatives of the Director of Civil Aviation, Eastern Caribbean States, showed that the airplane impacted a airport perimeter fence in the approach area of runway 10, knocking down 4 fence poles and about 40 feet of fencing. The fence was located on a small hill approximately 50 feet before the start of the runway. The airplane then touched down on the grass and rolled on to the runway surface. Evidence of fuel spillage was present on the runway and along the taxi path of the airplane to the parking ramp. The airplane continued to leak fuel after parking.
Examination of the airplane showed there were impact marks from the fence posts on the left and right wing leading edges and under wing areas. The left wing fuel tank was open by impact damage. The right and left main landing gear doors were damaged. The right wing flap and aileron were damaged. The left engine was displaced downward and the engine mount was damaged.
Medical and Pathological Information
The Captain, First Officer, and 2 Medical Crew Members were not injured. The Captain and First Officer did not submit to post accident toxicology testing.
The airplane was released by NTSB to the Captain on July 28, 2004. The cockpit voice recorder was released by NTSB to the Captain's representative on August 31, 2004.
The director of Civil Aviation for the Eastern Caribbean States delegated the investigation of the accident to the United States National Transportation Safety Board on July 19, 2004. The NTSB accepted delegation of the investigation.