Second Challenger Crashes On Takeoff In Cold Weather

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Circumstances Raise Icing Concerns

While it's far too early to draw any conclusions, there are some stark similarities between the crash of a Bombardier Challenger CL-600 bizjet at Teterboro Airport on Wednesday and an aircraft from the same family in Colorado in November. Witnesses say the plane in New Jersey failed to lift off before skidding off the end of the runway, crossing an expressway and running into a warehouse. Amazingly, no one was (immediately) killed, but up to 14 people, including an occupant of a car (listed in critical condition at the time of this writing) hit by the plane and an employee in the warehouse, were hurt. Initial reports said there were 12 people on the plane, which was on its way to Chicago. Three people died in the Colorado crash, and airframe icing is being investigated as the reason that that Challenger didn't get off the ground. That event prompted safety recommendations.

After the Colorado crash, which killed the son of NBC executive Dick Ebersol and two others, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a recommendation that pilots run their hands over wing surfaces to feel for frost buildup. The weather at the time of Wednesday's crash was reported as clear, calm and 22 degrees. FAA spokesman Greg Martin said the possibility of icing is being investigated. He said the temperature at the time of the crash was 24 degrees and the dew point was 18 degrees. According to an ABC report, at least seven others have died on Challengers during two take-off accidents previous to the Colorado incident. In 2002, five died when a Challenger with ice on its wings crashed on take-off in England. In October of 2000, two test pilots died in a take-off crash