…Raising Concerns About Safety…


The accident prompted a rash of stories in the mainstream press questioning the safety of GA flights, citing the death of two pilots in a Gulfstream G-1159A at Houston Hobby Airport on Nov. 22 and the Oct. 24 Hendrick Motorsports accident that killed 10 in a Beech 200 King Air. The Challenger line has accumulated over 2.5 million hours of flight time in 24 years, Bombardier spokesman Leo Knappen told MSNBC, and Sunday’s accident was the third fatal crash. Bombardier’s stock took a hit this week, dropping 4 percent on Monday to its lowest level this year, and by yesterday had been downgraded to “junk” status as the company released its third-quarter numbers and announced 2,200 additional aerospace job cuts. One of the other three-in-2.5-million-hours crashes was Jan. 4, 2002, in the U.K., and the accident report released this August cited frost on the wings as a causal factor. Two pilots died when the aircraft began a rapid left roll and hit the ground immediately after takeoff. The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority recommended that Bombardier should include a specific limitation in its aircraft manuals: “Wings and tail surfaces must be completely clear of snow, ice and frost prior to takeoff.” It was not clear yesterday if Bombardier had responded to the recommendation and it has not yet been determined that snow, ice or frost on the wings had anything to do with Sunday’s accident. Two Canadair Regional Jets, built by Bombardier, have crashed in recent months — on Nov. 21 in China, killing 54 people, and in Missouri in October, killing the two crew members.