NTSB Retracts Tamarack Winglet Blame in Fatal Citation 525 Crash


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) retracted its initial determination that Tamarack Aerospace’s Atlas active winglets were the cause of a fatal Cessna Citation 525 crash in 2018.

In a revised report released Feb. 23, the agency attributed the crash to “the pilot’s inability to regain airplane control after a left roll that began for reasons that could not be determined based on the available evidence.” Previously, the NTSB said the Citation’s Tamarack winglets deployed asymmetrically, causing the jet to roll left and subsequently descend into the ground.

The NTSB’s initial final report drew strong criticism from Tamarack, prompting the company to file a Petition for Reconsideration in January 2022, citing multiple factual errors. In what Tamarack called a “very unusual turn of events,” the NTSB has amended its final report. In a Feb. 26 letter to Tamarack, the agency acknowledged, “The NTSB agrees with the petitioner that the evidence is also insufficient to conclude that (1) the left actuator was in an extended position at the time of initial impact and (2) the ATLAS caused the left rolling moment; the NTSB has revised the report accordingly.”

Tamarack President Jacob Klinginsmith commended the agency saying, “Tamarack is very pleased that the NTSB has decided to grant our Petition for Reconsideration concerning this 2018 accident and taken steps to correct multiple technical errors in the original investigation. This reversal shows the NTSB has the courage, professionalism, and proper process to make these corrections, and for that we applaud the NTSB.”

Amelia Walsh
Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.


  1. Except for the other incidents with those winglets, I would agree. Why does a flying Citation just decide to roll uncontrolled to the left, with no pilot recovery?

  2. If the NTSB got it wrong with respect to the Tamarack winglets, what else have they gotten wrong for which they have not retracted their incorrect position?

    • No one claims that the NTSB is perfect. When an organization with a great track record issues a correction, I tend to see that as a confidence-builder rather than the opposite. Would you be more trusting of the NTSB if they never issued any retractions?

      • Given the impact the NTSB and the FAA for that matter have on the aviation industry and public as a whole, they cannot afford to be wrong. They have brought this upon themselves. When you act as if you’re perfect, you had sure as heck better be perfect.

        • “When you act as if you’re perfect, you had sure as heck better be perfect.”

          But isn’t issuing a correction the exact opposite of acting as though they’re perfect?

  3. Let’s not jump on the FAA if they made an error here, they must have errors elsewhere in determinations of causality.

    We don’t want an organization to become defensive and never admit error due to institutional pride. To the FAA, the data showed a cause and new data or reevaluation of the original data proved a likely different outcome.

    I for one applaud the FAA for wanting to get it right, and make it right. That’s the principle we need to hold them accountable as an organization.

    • NTSB and FAA aren’t the same thing. But yes, being willing to correct an error is a good sign.

    • NordicDave – This article is about the NTSB changing their cause/probable cause finding in the final accident report.

      While the FAA conducts their own accident investigation, there is never a cause/probable cause finding from that investigation. They investigate their areas of responsibility (pilot & aircraft cert., airworthiness, ATC, FARs, etc.) for adequacy and compliance.

  4. Not a correction: “the pilot’s inability to regain airplane control after a left roll that began for reasons that could not be determined based on the available evidence.” their answer is We don’t have no smoking gun, so we don’t know. But this from 2019: European regulators issued an emergency airworthiness directive April 19, 2019 requiring Tamarack’s active winglets, installed as a retrofit on nearly 100 Cessna Citation jets, to be deactivated before further flight, though the FAA did not immediately follow suit. A fix has already been approved, and the company is covering the cost. A fix in 2019 was probably a cause of a crash in 2018.

  5. While I understand the issues with hard evidence in this case, the circumstantial evidence of other pilots reporting uncommanded roll events due to tamarack systems, crashes involving their systems, and the emergency order by EASA makes me still believe it was the tamarack system. The NTSB couldn’t definitely prove causation because the aircraft impacted near vertically at greater than 385kts leaving hardly any debris bigger than a dinner plate. Personally, I won’t put myself or any of my family and friends on board an aircraft with one of these systems installed.

    • That seems more like it would be in the FAA’s jurisdiction to issue an AD, rather than the NTSB’s to definitively say it was the tamarack winglets.

      • Gary Baluha – That is the NTSB primary purpose to determine the cause/probable cause of accidents and then to make “recommendations” to prevent a recurrence. The NTSB has no regulatory responsibility/ability.

  6. It doesn’t seem that many contributors appreciate the difficulty of taking a bunch of broken and burned pieces of people and airplanes out of a smoking hole in the ground and then making a watertight assessment of EXACTLY how they got there!