Aerodynamic Stall Led to Crash of Business Jet


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​Improper Crew Resource Management Contributed to Accident

​WASHINGTON (Aug. 17, 2023) — A series of poor decisions in the cockpit led to the crash of a business jet that killed all six people on board, the National Transportation Safety Board detailed in a report.

On July 26, 2021, the Bombardier Challenger 605 business jet was flying from Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, to the Truckee-Tahoe airport in California when it crashed during a circling approach to land. In the course of these maneuvers, the airplane exceeded the critical angle of attack and entered an asymmetric aerodynamic stall, resulting in a rapid left roll and impact with the ground.

The NTSB said that poor crew resource management “contributed to the flight crew’s degraded performance and competition for control of the airplane.” In the final five seconds of the flight, the first officer asked for control of the airplane three times, but the captain never transferred control to the first officer. Investigators said that it’s likely the first officer “improperly attempted to take control of the aircraft without permission from the captain.”

The audio recording from the jet’s cockpit voice recorder revealed that both crewmembers made critical mistakes during the final minutes of the flight.

​After being cleared to the Truckee-Tahoe Airport by air traffic control for Runway 20, the crew requested and was cleared for a circling approach to land on Runway 11, the longer of the two runways. The crew failed, however, to brief for the new approach, as the descent checklist required.

As the airplane began its final turn towards Runway 11, it was too close and too fast to align with the runway without overshooting the centerline, and too high to make a normal descent to a landing. Instead of calling for a go-around, as company procedures required, the flight crew elected to continue across the centerline and then turn back towards it, deploying spoilers to increase the rate of descent.

Circling approaches can be more hazardous than others because they frequently involve maneuvering at low altitudes with low airspeed. In March, citing 10 accidents resulting in 17 fatalities involving circling approaches, the NTSB issued a Safety Alert, “Circling Approaches: Know the Risks.” The Safety Alert is available at NTSB Safety Alert 84 / Circling Approaches: Know the Risks.

The complete 26-page report is available on CAROL​. The accident docket, which includes the cockpit voice recorder transcript and other factual materials, is available on the NTSB Docket Management System.

To report an incident/accident or if you are a public safety agency, please call 1-844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290 to speak to a Watch Officer at the NTSB Response Operations Center (ROC) in Washington, DC (24/7).