Two Citation Jets Crash Under Unknown Circumstances Within Two Days

A Citation Encore similar to the aircraft that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. Wikipedia Commons

Two fatal accidents, both involving Cessna Citation jets, occurred within two days of each other last week. In the first accident on May 22nd, a Citation 550 SII crashed shortly after takeoff from Indianapolis Regional Airport (MQJ) killing the two people aboard. The second accident on May 24th involved a Citation 560 Encore being flown single pilot, which impacted the waters of the Atlantic Ocean approximately 310 miles east of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, killing the pilot, the only person on board the airplane.

One unconfirmed report said the 1985 Citation 550 that crashed about 12:45 p.m. local time had been undergoing mechanical repairs at MQJ prior to departure. The jet, headed to Minden-Tahoe Airport, Nevada, impacted the ground in an open field less than a mile northeast of the airport.

An NTSB spokesman told the Indy Star, “The plane will be moved to a more secure location for a thorough examination of the aircraft and engine. A preliminary report will be issued in about 10 days.” MQJ is a non-towered airport. No distress calls from the jet prior to the accident have been reported.

Slightly more information exists about the May 24th accident. The Citation Encore, being flown by a single pilot, departed St. Louis Regional Airport in Alton, Illinois, at 13:36 local time on an IFR flight to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE). About half an hour after takeoff, the Citation leveled off at FL390 where it remained for the rest of the flight until it apparently ran out of fuel and crashed into the Atlantic.

ATC said it lost radio communications with the pilot about the time the Encore should have begun its descent into South Florida. Approximately two and one-half hours after takeoff, just about overhead FXE, the aircraft turned eastbound and headed out over the Atlantic still at FL390. About this same time, recorded significant airspeed changes on the airplane. At cruise, the aircraft was recorded at 410 knots. At its slowest point near FXE, the airplane's speed decreased to 256 knots.

Two F-15s, scrambled from Homestead AFB south of Miami, intercepted the Citation still in cruise but were apparently unable to establish contact with the pilot before the aircraft impacted the water.

Rob MarkAuthor
Rob Mark is an award-winning journalist, business jet pilot, flight instructor, and blogger.

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