NTSB: Challenger Pilots Didn't Check Weight And Balance

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A Bombardier Challenger CL-600-1A11 that ran off the departure end of a Teterboro runway while trying to take off in February 2005 was incorrectly loaded, the NTSB said in its final report that was released on Tuesday. The jet was not within weight-and-balance limits and the center of gravity was well forward of the forward takeoff limit, which prevented the airplane from rotating upon takeoff, the Safety Board said. Neither pilot properly checked the weight and balance before takeoff. "This accident clearly shows what can happen when crucial operating steps are not adhered to," said NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker. "When it comes to transportation safety there are no shortcuts and it is important that operators and flight crews ensure that proper procedures are followed at all times." [more] The NTSB also criticized the FAA for failing to exercise adequate oversight of the charter operator. Platinum Jet Management was flying under a Part 135 certificate held by another company. All such arrangements should be reviewed by the FAA, the Board said. Additionally, the company's pilots routinely "improperly modified" the weight and balance forms to show that the airplane was operating within its limits. The Board's full report will be posted online in several weeks.

After departing the runway, the jet ran through an airport perimeter fence, across a six-lane highway (where it struck a vehicle) and into a parking lot before impacting a building. The two pilots were seriously injured, as were two occupants in the vehicle. The cabin aide, eight passengers, and one person in the building received minor injuries.