NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Florida Jet Accident

Jet experienced loss of oil pressure before the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its preliminary report on the crash of a charter jet in Naples, Florida, earlier in February. According to the NTSB, the crew of a charter jet experienced a loss of oil pressure moments before the accident.

The pilots were killed, but the passengers and cabin attendant escaped before the jet was destroyed by fire.

What Happened

According to the NTSB, earlier in the day the aircraft launched from Naples Municipal Airport (KAPF) in Florida, destined for Ohio State University Airport (KOSU) in Columbus. The Bombardier CL-600 was operated by Ace Aviation Services doing business as Hop-A-Jet, a charter service.

The accident happened when the aircraft was returning to Florida at the end of the day. Before departure from KOSU the aircraft was serviced with 350 gallons of fuel.

According to information gleaned from preliminary ADS-B flight track data and air traffic control, around 3 p.m. EST the flight crew contacted the tower at KAPF while maneuvering for approach to Runways 23.

At 3:08 p.m. when the jet was about 6.5 miles north of the airport at an altitude of 2,000 feet and a ground speed of 166 knots, ATC cleared the jet to land on Runway 23. The aircraft turned for the base leg of the pattern, which put the aircraft on a 5-mile final.

Preliminary review of the information recovered from the airplane’s flight data recorder indicates that at 3:09:33 the first of three master warnings was recorded flagging a problem with oil pressure in the left engine. This was immediately followed by an oil warning from the right engine, then the system alerted pilots with illumination of a “master warning” light on the glareshield, a corresponding red message on the crew alerting system page, and a triple chime voice advisory “engine oil.”

At 3:10 when the aircraft was at approximately 1,000 feet msl and had slowed to 122 knots the crew declared an emergency and notified ATC that it had lost both engines.The aircraft was on a shallow intercept angle for final approach. ATC acknowledged the call, clearing the jet to land.

The crew replied it was not going to be able to make the runway. This was the last transmission. The aircraft was at an altitude of 900 feet and ground speed of 115 knots. The ADS-B showed the aircraft was over Interstate 75 in Naples, Florida. The highway runs north-south, putting it perpendicular to the assigned runway at KAPF.

It was rush hour on a Friday afternoon, and there were lots of cars on the interstate. Dashcam video submitted to the NTSB captured the final seconds of the flight, showing the jet in a shallow left turn as it descends. The jet leveled its wings before it touched down in the southbound lanes.

The left main landing gear touched down first in the center of the three lanes, and then the right main landing gear touched down in the right lane. The jet rolled through the breakdown lane and into the grass shoulder area before impacting a concrete sound barrier. The airplane caught fire, sending up a large cloud of black smoke.

The Crew

The flight crew of the jet included a captain, first officer, and cabin attendant. The cabin attendant told NTSB investigators that after the aircraft came to rest, she realized the cabin and emergency exits were blocked by fire, so she directed the passengers to the tail section of the airplane, and they evacuated through the baggage compartment door. The cabin attendant, the two passengers on board, and a motorist sustained minor injuries. The captain and copilot did not survive.

The captain held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land, with multiple type ratings. He also held a first-class medical certificate. His employer reported that he had accrued 10,525 total hours of flight experience, of which 2,808 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

The first officer also held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land, with multiple type ratings. He also held a first-class medical certificate. His employer reported he had 24,618 total hours of flight experience, of which 138 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

Airplane Information

According to FAA maintenance records, the accident airplane was manufactured in 2004 and was powered by two GE CF34 Series turbofan engines. Its most recent continuous airworthiness inspection was completed on January 5 at 9,763 total hours of operation.

Wreckage Information

Most of the aircraft was consumed by fire, but all major components of the airplane were accounted for. The wreckage reportedly smelled of jet-A fuel, and the ground was soaked with it.

The cockpit center console was found separated from the main wreckage. Both engine throttle levers were found near the “idle” stop position. The flap selector handle was found in a position consistent with 45-degree flap extension.

The left wing was nearly entirely consumed by post-impact fire. There was evidence the right wing had impacted the vertical steel I-beam of a highway sign. The outer portion of the wing had been torn off. The right wing fuel boost pump was located; the left wing fuel boost pump was not.

The airplane’s tail section was largely intact but was damaged by the post-impact fire. The vertical fin, horizontal stabilizer, and elevator control surfaces were all intact.

NTSB investigators noted the engines were still attached, and approximately 16 ounces of liquid with an odor and appearance consistent with jet-A fuel was drained from the aft tail fuel tank. The sample contained about a half ounce of what appeared to be water.

The auxiliary power unit fuel filter bowl was removed for visual inspection of the fuel and filter. No debris was noted in the drained fuel and the filter appeared clean. The fuel was retained for further analysis.

The engines also were removed for further examination. No pre-impact anomalies were discovered during the teardown and examination of the left engine, the oil filter appeared in good condition, and no particles were observed within the pleats.

During the examination of the right engine NTSB investigators did not find any structural anomalies or damage. However, the fuel filter bowl displayed evidence of thermal discoloration, although the filter appeared clean with no debris or foreign material within the pleats. Fuel samples were collected from various points throughout the fuel system, and it was noted the fuel from the fuel filter bowl and heat exchanger displayed a yellowish tint, while the other fuel samples were clear. The odor of the samples was consistent with jet-A. In addition, the main fuel inlet port exhibited a small, yellow-colored debris particle. The oil filter appeared in good condition, and no particles were observed within the pleats.

Both engines were retained for additional examination.

Editor’s Note: This information is preliminary and is subject to change. It can take anywhere from a year to 18 months for the NTSB to determine the cause of an accident.


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