On July 12, 2011, about 1320 eastern daylight time, a Gate Lear Jet 35, N110UN, encountered windshear during landing at Opa-Locka Executive Airport (OPF), Opa-Locka, Florida. The pilot, copilot, and two passengers were not injured. The airplane incurred substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the test flight, which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight originated from OPF, about 1256. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated that the intent of the flight was to test the airplane's systems for an upcoming flight. The departure from OPF was toward the northwest and they flew towards the Lake Okeechobee area, then towards the Naples area, and then flew back to OPF for a full stop landing. During the approach to runway 12 at OPF, rain was observed west of the airport. During the landing, at an altitude of about 30 feet above the runway, the airplane encountered windshear. The airplane started to roll to the left and the airspeed decreased by 20 knots. As the pilot attempted to regain control of the airplane, the right wingtip made contact with the runway surface. At that moment, he believed the airplane's position was almost perpendicular to the runway. He applied differential engine power and applied aggressive flight control inputs to stay on the runway. Once in control of the airplane, the pilot taxied toward the end of the runway, and off the active runway towards the operator's ramp area were the airplane came to a complete stop and was shutdown. Upon further inspection by the flight crew, it was discovered that the extension section (fuel tank) of the outboard right wing had separated from the wing attachment point and was hanging by the lower wing skin.
The pilot, age 43, held an Airline Transport pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane multiengine land, airplane single-engine land, LR-JET, HS-125, EA-500S, DA-10, and instrument airplane. In addition, he held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane-single engine, airplane multiengine, and instrument airplane. The pilot reported that he accumulated 13,594 total hours of flight experience, of which, 1,100 hour were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration first-class medical certificate was issued on September 3, 2010.
The copilot, age 72, held a commercial pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane multiengine land, airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane. The copilot reported that he accumulated 2,500 total hours of flight experience. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration second-class medical certificate was issued on October 23, 2010.
Published information for runway 12/30 at OPF shows it as a grooved asphalt, 6800 foot long by 150 foot wide, with a 800 feet displaced threshold, at an elevation of 8 feet mean sea level (msl). Runway 12 is equipped with a visual slope indicator. The OPF airport is not equipped with a low level windshear alert system (LLWAS).
Audio recording from the OPF tower communication revealed the pilot acknowledged receiving the airport’s latest Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) when he made his initial radio contact with the controller when the flight was 16 miles west of the airport. The controller made several announcements on the airport traffic frequency that there was an area of weather 5 miles in diameters with light to moderate precipitation over the airport prior to the landing.
The airplane’s cockpit voice recorder was retained and reviewed at the NTSB Recorders Laboratory; the event was captured. The adverse weather condition advisory from the OPF controller was captured as the flight crew were preparing for the landing on runway 12. There was nothing out of the normal or concerning heard during the approach to the runway. As the airplane was over the approach end of the runway, the stick shaker followed by 2 loud bangs, followed by the stick shaker again followed by 3 more loud bangs were heard. The pilot was heard stating “we lost the airspeed indicator”.
The 1326 special recorded weather observation at OPF, included wind from 340 degrees at 15 knots gusting to 20 knots, visibility 8 miles, moderate rain, overcast clouds at 3,700 feet above ground level, temperature 29 degrees C, dew point 26 degrees C; altimeter 30.05 inches of mercury.
A review of high resolution automated surface observation system data from OPF indicated that at 1318, the wind was from 338 degrees at 4 knots. Then, there was a steady increase in wind velocity to 15 knots at 1324. During that time, the wind shifted between 353 degrees and 011 degrees.
Terminal Doppler weather radar data indicated strong convective activity northwest of the airport between 1318 and 1330. The data also identified possible micro bursts and diverging winds near the surface around 1320 to 1325 northwest of OPF.
As a result of this accident a direct line of communication has been established between the OPF tower and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA), Miami, Florida, Center Weather Service Unit to disseminate hazard weather conditions that may affect operations at or near the OPF area.