The National Transportation Safety Board has recovered the cockpit voice recorder from a Cessna Citation 560—N3RB—that crashed on January 9 on the Warm Springs Reservation approximately 75 miles southeast of Portland, Oregon. The aircraft was headed to Boise, Idaho, on an IFR flight plan and departed Portland Troutdale Airport at 1:08 pm local time (PST). The Citation impacted terrain about 30 minutes later, claiming the lives of the two people aboard. The aircraft was registered to Portland-based SX TRANSPORT LLC.
The Citation 560 was climbing southeasterly direct Boise to an ATC-assigned altitude of FL230 according to a recording from LiveATC.net. However, at 1:25 pm, the aircraft continued climbing through its FL230 altitude restriction. The Seattle Center controller attempted to contact the pilot shortly after she noticed the aircraft had passed through its assigned altitude, but received no reply. Additionally, she attempted to send another aircraft toward the area where she’d lost contact with the Citation. The results of that effort are unknown. The crash was verified shortly thereafter by a US Air Force aircraft flyover.
As the Citation passed through 29,000 feet, it began a slow right turn to the south and eventually ended up on a west southwesterly heading for a few minutes as it continued to climb to approximately 30,925 ft, according to the flight track posted on FlightAware. A few seconds later, the aircraft appeared to enter a spiraling right turn during which its descent rate hovered between 3,000 to 5,000 fpm. The Citation’s final ADS-B paint on FlightAware occurred at 1:37 pm PST.
It took rescuers until the next morning to reach the accident site using snowmobiles as a result of the snow and mud present in the area. A preliminary NTSB report of this accident is expected to be released before the end of this month.