Accident Dassault Falcon 900B SX-ECH, Tuesday 14 September 1999
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Date:Tuesday 14 September 1999
Type:Silhouette image of generic F900 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Dassault Falcon 900B
Owner/operator:Olympic Airways
Registration: SX-ECH
MSN: 026
Year of manufacture:1987
Total airframe hrs:6427 hours
Cycles:3405 flights
Engine model:Garrett TFE731-5BR-1C
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 13
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial, repaired
Location:FIR Bucharest -   Romania
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Athens-Ellinikon International Airport (ATH/LGAT)
Destination airport:Bucharest-Otopeni International Airport (OTP/LROP)
Investigating agency: Romania MoT
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Falcon 900B SX-ECH was owned by the Greek Air Force and operated by Olympic Airways. A Greek government delegation, a.o. minister in charge of European affairs, Yiannos Kranidiotis, were to visit Bucharest. Their plane departed Athens 18:16 UTC. During climb, after the flaps and slats were retracted, the flight crew noticed, on the warning panel, the "PITCH FEEL" light, was illuminated. The captain disengaged the autopilot, checked the forces on the control column and re-engaged the autopilot. The "PITCH FEEL" warning light, remained continuously ON, during cruise and descent until the slats were extended. The Falcon reached a cruising altitude of FL400 until 47 minutes from takeoff, when a normal descent to FL150 was initiated, with the autopilot engaged in vertical speed (V/S) mode. During descent the Indicated Air Speed (IAS) increased from 240 knots to 332 knots. Approaching FL150, the first officer had a request for a further descent. Just before FL150 the ATC recleared the flight to continue descent to FL50. One second later autopilot disengaged and thereafter the aircraft was manually flown by the captain. Between FL150 and FL140, for approximately 24 seconds, the aircraft experienced 10 oscillations in pitch axis which exceeded the limit manoeuvring load factor. Maximum recorded values were: +4.7 g and -3.26 g. During the event the thrust power was reduced. At about FL130, after aircraft recovery from the encountered oscillations, the first officer declared an emergency, saying: "We are in emergency sir, request vector to final approach. We have problems with the controls". At the request of the flight crew, radar vectoring was provided by the ATC, and a visual approach and landing was performed on runway 08R. It appeared that the cabin interior had been completely destroyed, resulting in fatal injuries to seven passengers.

1. Inadequate risk assessments of the PITCH FEEL malfunctions.
2. Overriding of the A/P on the pitch channel by the crew.
3. Inappropriate inputs on the control column at high speed and with Arthur unit failed in 'low-speed' mode leading to Pilot Induced Oscillations.
4. Seat-belts not fastened during descent flight phase.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: Romania MoT
Report number: Report sx-h990914
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 10 months
Download report: Final report


Flight International


  • 51st worst accident in 1999
  • worst accident of this aircraft type
  • worst accident of this aircraft type at the time


Revision history:


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