National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
The following is an update on the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation of a business jet accident on September 19, 2008, at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport in South Carolina.
On September 19, 2008, at about 11:53 p.m. EDT, a Learjet Model 60 (N999LJ) overran runway 11 while departing Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE), Columbia, South Carolina and destined for Van Nuys, California. Tire debris and portions of airplane components were found along the 8,600 foot runway. According to witnesses and initial information, the beginning of the takeoff roll appeared normal, then sparks were observed as the airplane traveled along the runway. Just after the V1 speed callout, at about 136 knots, the crew reacted to a sound consistent with a tire failure, however they were unable to stop the airplane before exiting the runway. The airplane continued beyond the runway blast pad and through the approximately 1,000 foot runway safety area while striking airport lighting, navigation facilities, a perimeter fence and concrete marker posts. The airplane then crossed a roadway and came to rest where it struck an embankment on the far side of the road. Evidence of a fuel fire began on the airport side of the roadway.
The two crewmembers and two of the four passengers were fatally injured; the other two passengers suffered serious injuries. The aircraft was destroyed by extensive post-crash fire.
SUMMARY OF NEW FACTUAL INFORMATION
The first piece of tire debris was observed about 2,300 feet from the departure end of runway 11. Numerous other pieces of tire debris were located along the runway. Scarring of the runway surface by the left and right main gear tire rims was evident starting at about the 5,200 foot mark and continuing down to the end of the 8,600-foot runway.
The marks led past the runway and through four rows of gravel at the bases of the instrument landing system antenna components. Approximately 150 feet past the end of the pavement, near the first set of lights, the main landing gear pistons and wheel sets with the brake assemblies were found. Both main landing gear (squat) micro-switches were found on the grass near the main landing gear.
The wheel sets were found with very little rubber other than tire beads. The general bottom features of the brake assembly were ground flat and the bottom of the ground area of the assembly exhibits heat-bluing. The hydraulic lines had extensive damage.
Preliminary examination of the right PW305A engine revealed that the accident exposed inlet guide vanes (IGV) and reference to a manufacturer's chart showed the orientations were consistent with high power at the time of impact. The thrust reversers were in the retracted/stowed orientations.
Parties to the investigation include the FAA, Learjet, Global Exec Aviation, Pratt and Whitney Canada, TSB-Canada, and Goodyear.
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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.