NTSB Report: Accident Hawker Crew Departed Without Clearance


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its Preliminary Report on the runway-intersection collision between a Textron Hawker 850XP (N269AA) and a Cessna Citation Mustang (N510HM) at Houston Hobby Airport on Oct. 24 (NTSB Accident No. DCA24FA017). No one was injured among the three on board the Hawker, which was taking off for a planned flight to Waukesha, Wisconsin (KUES), or the four on board the landing Citation, which was arriving on a flight from Fulton County Executive Airport/Charlie Brown Field (KFTY), Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawker continued its takeoff and returned to the airport despite significant damage to its left wingtip.

The NTSB report indicates that the Hawker crew initiated its takeoff roll on Runway 22 without clearance and suggests the crew may have been distracted by anomalies related to avionics displays. The crew reported in post-accident interviews that, as they approached the takeoff runway with a clearance to “line up and wait,” V-speed indications were missing on their screens. And during the subsequent uncleared takeoff roll, they also experienced rudder-bias and pitch-trim alerts, the crew reported. In the meantime, the tower controller had cleared the Citation to land on Runway 13.

During the Hawker’s takeoff roll at 15:19:47 local time, the tower controller alerted the crew, “November nine alpha alpha, stop, hold your position.” The crew did not respond. The controller repeated the command four seconds later, also with no response. The single pilot of the Citation reported the sound of impact as resembling that of a blown tire at highway speeds, while the pilot of the Hawker said he heard a “thud” as his left wingtip and winglet sliced through the tail cone of the smaller jet.

Of interest, the controller’s first callout to the Hawker to stop its takeoff came two seconds before the airport’s Airport Surface Detection Equipment – Model X (ASDE-X) issued an alert. ASDE-X is designed to autonomously alert controllers to potential wrong-surface conflicts on runways and taxiways.

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. The hawker crew is dangerous. The report said during the takeoff roll they had multiple failures and didn’t reject?? Plus somehow as they were entering the runway they realized all of their v speeds were missing. And ATC repeatedly told them to stop the takeoff …. Bizarre.

    • Absolutely agree. Pleasing the boss???? Get there itis? Major re-training for these personnel, learning how to say “No”.

      • Yep. Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up.
        The most important lesson I learned as a newly minted airline captain was that the parking brake (and the PIC’s use of it) is sometimes your best safety equipment.

  2. Dysfunctional crew(professional ratings chasers) still performing self-colonoscopies after leaving the gate.
    Gonna get someone killed someday.

  3. Thank you Mark for not using the word “permission” but rather using the correct word, “clearance”.

  4. “…during the subsequent uncleared takeoff roll, they also experienced rudder-bias and pitch-trim alerts, the crew reported.”

    Yikes. Makes we wonder what it would take for them to initiate an actual abort.

  5. “also experienced rudder-bias and pitch-trim alerts” one would think that they would have aborted right there. Sounds like they were in a hurry and gave safety and procedures a wink and a nod and little else.

  6. LUAW, a poor procedure. Speaking of hurryup! Am I cleared for takof. or not? Once in position you can’t see who is on final behind you especially at night. Never forget LAX

    • Line Up and Wait (LUAW) is a non ambiguous, specific instruction.

      Am I cleared for takeoff or not? Is a checklist item.

      Where was their situational awareness, particularly with a cross runway in use?

    • LUAW is indeed a normal instruction and no different than Taxi into position and hold. No difference between Hold and Wait and this “new” procedure has been in place for 13 years. What you do not hear in the US but you do in Europe on a regular basis, is: LUAW after the landing 737 on 2 mile final. Hmmm.

  7. Seems like that would be the end of their pro flying careers. I mean too much crappy decision making to explain that one away. To the first post: yep, this could’ve ended their pro flying careers and their earthly existence. So lucky if it’s just the first.