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2nd of February 2005

A Bombardier Challenger (CL-600-1A11) was booked for an early morning charter flight from Teterboro Airport (New Jersey, USA) to Chicago-Midway Airport (Illinois, USA), onboard 3 crew and 8 passengers.

The accident airplane, the impacted building and several impacted vehicles (© NTSB)

The crew arrived at the aircraft at ~05.20 local time, to repair the aircraft for the flight. The crew performed their pre-flight duties and checked the aircraft technical logbook, which was "absolutely clean", as stated by the crew. The fuel tanks were filled upon request of the crew and once refuelling was completed they taxied the aircraft to the pick-up point for the passengers. After the short taxi, the captain performed another walk around inspection to ascertain the condition of the aircraft.

The passengers arrived with only light baggage which was stowed at various locations in the cabin. There were no passenger bags in the aft baggage compartment. With the passengers settled in the captain briefed them on expected turbulence along the route, and afterwards went to the cockpit. The necessary clearance was received and after the engines were started the aircraft taxied towards runway 06. The relevant checklists were completed, including a successful check of the flight controls during the taxi. They were then cleared for a rolling take-off from runway 06 due to traffic at 4 miles final. The power levers were advanced and the necessary standard calls were made. The first officer announced 80 knots, V1 (127 knots) and Vr (133 knots)

The accident scene after the fire was extinguished and as found by the NTSB (© NTSB)

With aircraft accelerating past Vr the aircraft could not be rotated and 5 seconds after the V2 call-out from the first officer the captain commanded a rejected Take-Off. Brakes were applied, spoilers and reversers were deployed. However the remaining runway length was insufficient and the aircraft, while decelerating, went off the end of the runway and hit a building. After coming to stop the flight crew was initially trapped by wreckage and were not able to open the main door. The cabin attendant failed to open the door. The door was unlocked and then pushed and kicked open by two passengers, Al occupants then successfully evacuated the aircraft which had caught fire. Before leaving the aircraft the captain crawled through the cabin to make sure all passengers and the cabin attendant had left the aircraft, which was the case. All occupants and 1 inhabitant of the building received injuries of varying degrees, there were no fatalities. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was informed of the accident and soon after started an investigation which led to a 124-page accident report which is available by clicking here. The report lists a total of 23 findings varying from flight crew training issues to FAA oversight, but also that 4 of the passengers had not been wearing their seatbelts.

The side-facing, three-passenger divan from the accident airplane with the burned seat cushions removed. Note: the arrows indicate the row of folded seatbelts that were found beneath the seatback cushions. (© NTSB)

The probable cause as stated in the report concluded;

The probable cause of the accident was the pilots’ failure to ensure the airplane was loaded within weight-and-balance limits and their attempt to take off with the center of gravity well forward of the forward takeoff limit, which prevented the airplane from rotating at the intended rotation speed.

Centre of Gravity diagram for the accident flight from the NTSB report showing the Centre of Gravity being well outside the limits for the flight, circled in red (©NTSB)

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