NTSB: Steep Turn Preceded Teterboro Learjet Crash
The NTSB this week released a preliminary report on the fatal Learjet crash in Teterboro two weeks ago, in which two pilots were killed. While approaching the airport, the crew started to turn toward the assigned runway later than usual, the safety board said. The airplane didn’t start to turn until it was less than 1 NM from the approach end of Runway 6, but aircraft typically start the turn at the final approach fix, which is about 3.8 NM from the runway. An air traffic controller who was working in the Teterboro tower told the board that he saw the airplane bank hard to the right, and he could see the belly of the airplane with the wings almost perpendicular to the ground. The airplane then appeared to level out for just a second or two before the left wing dropped, showing the entire top of the airplane.
Witnesses on the ground also reported they saw the airplane in a right turn with the wings in a high angle of bank, the board said in the report. Some witnesses described seeing the airplane's wings "wobbling" before the left wing dropped and the airplane descended to the ground. Security video cameras installed at numerous commercial buildings also captured the last moments of the flight, showing the airplane at high angles of bank. One security camera showed the airplane in a steep right-wing low, nose-down attitude at impact. Both pilots died and the jet was consumed by fire. ATIS weather at the time reported the current weather at the airport as: "wind 350 degrees at 18 knots gusting to 29 knots; visibility 10; light rain, 5,500 ft scattered; temperature 18 degrees C; dew point 6 degrees C; altimeter 29.74 inches of mercury. ILS Runway 6 circle approach in use … Low-level wind-shear advisory in effect.”
The NTSB investigation is continuing. A final report will be released when the investigation is complete.