With two passengers and two crew a Beechcraft C90GTi King Air was planned to operate a private flight from Les Eplatures Airport (Neuchâtel, Switzerland) to Dole-Tavaux Airport (Jura, France).
The aircraft shortly after coming to a stop (© Police Cantonale Neuchâtel) At 12.57 UTC, with all preparations complete the engines were started. After receiving their IFR clearance the pilot taxied out to runway 24 at 13.04 UTC, the flaps are still retracted at the time. Icy patches were reported and present on the stands and taxiways while the runway was cleared of snow and was dry. After a short taxi ATC cleared the aircraft for take-off and instructed the pilot to report passing 6000 feet, the wind at the time was 280º at 5 knots. The pilot reads back their clearance and lines up on the runway. After the pilot lined the aircraft up, they applied the footbrake and increased engine power till the required torque indication for take-off (1520 ft-lbs) was reached, which was the rated torque for the aircraft.
Overview picture of the accident site, note the rrunway in the background
(© Police Cantonale Neuchâtel)
Upon reaching the required torque the pilot released the brakes, causing the aircraft to pull to the left. Both the passengers noticed the aircraft pulling to the left, also the ATC controller observed the aircraft deviating to the left. The deviation was corrected by the pilot and the take-off was continued. Acceleration was not as high as normal, which was also obserevd by the occupant of the right-hand cockpit seat. The take-0ff speed had been determined, during flight preparation, to be 95 knots. During the take-off run the pilot observed a maximum speed of 88 knots, after which the speed was observed to reduce to 85 knots. At that point, the pilot determined that the aircraft would not reach the take-off speed. Although he did not notice a loss of power, an aborted take-off was initiated, the aircraft was ~325 meters from the end of runway 24. During the aborted take off the aircraft veers slightly to the right and fails to come to a stop on the paved surface of the runway.
The aircraft being unloaded after recovery from the runway (© Arnaud Loichat)
At 13.07 UTC the aircraft comes to a stop against the concrete base of a localiser antenna for Runway 24, located just past the end of the runway end. The ATC controller observed the failed take-off attempt and initiates the crash alarm. Damage to the aircraft is extensive and all occupants of the aircraft suffer varying degrees of injury. An eye witness to the crash administers first aid to the injured, but needs medical attention herself after inhaling fumes from the kerosine that leaked from the damaged wings. Two minutes after the alarm was raised at 13.09 UTC the airport fire brigade arrives on the scene, followed three minutes later by the first ambulance.
Tire marks on the runway (©BFU)
The BFU (Bureau Flugunfalluntersuchugnen - Swiss Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau red.) is alerted and an investigation into the accident is launched. After completing their investigation the BFU publishes their investigation report on the 22nd of March 2011. In this report, they conclude that:
"The accident was due to a collision with an obstacle located in the extension of the runway following the late application of an aborted take-off procedure due to insufficient acceleration which was due to, with a probability bordering on certainty, to the involuntary braking by the pilot during the phase of acceleration."
Contributing factors to the accident were;
- Poor pilot experience on this aircraft model.
- Inadequate take off configuration (flaps).
- Initial multi engine training performed on a different aircraft model.
- Pilot not familiarized with short runway. The BFU investigation report (in French), on which this blog is based, is available for the readers' reference by clicking on the .pdf file below;
** Editorial note **
V2 Aviation - Training & Maintenance has not been able to obtain an investigation report in English on this accident. This blog is therefore based on a translation of the original report. Should there be inconsistencies in the blog don't hesitate to get in touch with us. There are two possibilities to do that, via the comments function at the bottom of this page or via the contact page of the website.