Strong Wind Eyed in Aspen Challenger 600 Crash

The Challenger 600 that crashed in Aspen, Colorado, on Sunday afternoon was on its second approach to the airport after the pilots aborted their first landing because of an extremely strong tailwind on short final. The copilot was killed when the jet went off the right side of the runway during the second landing attempt, flipped over and burst into flames. The captain and another pilot on board were injured.

According to an audio recording of the tower at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport obtained by, the crew of a Falcon that landed while the Challenger was on its first approach reported 20 knots of wind shear. Moments later the crew of the Challenger, N115WF, aborted its landing after experiencing a 33-knot tailwind.

On its second approach to Runway 15 the tower reported the wind as 330 degrees at 16 with gusts to 25. The jet, which had flown to Aspen from Mexico, crashed and burst into flames next to the runway, closing the airport and stranding several private jets and a few airliners.

Representatives from the FAA and NTSB are on scene investigating the crash.

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