Accident Learjet 24A N31SK, Friday 27 March 1987
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Date:Friday 27 March 1987
Time:20:45
Type:Silhouette image of generic LJ24 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Learjet 24A
Owner/operator:Connie Kalitta Services
Registration: N31SK
MSN: 24-118
Year of manufacture:1966
Total airframe hrs:8432 hours
Engine model:General Electric CJ610-6
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Category:Accident
Location:7,5 km NW of Eagle, CO -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Nature:Ambulance
Departure airport:Denver-Stapleton International Airport, CO (DEN/KDEN)
Destination airport:Vail-Eagle County Airport, CO (EGE/KEGE)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Narrative:
A Gates Learjet 24A was on a positioning flight from Denver (DEN) to Eagle (EGE) to enplane a patient for a medical evacuation flight.
The pilot of N31SK reported passing the STUPE intersection, and was cleared by ATC for landing at Eagle. Shortly before the accident, the pilot reported "eight to ten miles out, and it’s clear to Eagle." The pilot had presumably elected to fly the circle-to-land LDA-A runway 07 approach to Eagle. The pilot descended well below the altitudes specified for this approach, but may have done so because he could see the airport. Post-crash investigation showed the pilot would have had the airport in sight for all but the last one to three seconds of flight, when the uninhabited, unlit mountain ridge obstructed his view. Only a very small adjustment to the aircraft’s controls would have been required to gain the additional 22 feet of altitude necessary to clear the ridge. However, lacking visual reference, the pilot was unable to see the terrain until it was too late. The aircraft impacted an 8022 feet mountain ridge at the 8000 feet level, approximately 4 NM northwest of Eagle airport on a heading of 195° magnetic. N31SK was in approach configuration at impact.
The crew could have been misled by the Jeppesen approach charts which did not accurately depict terrain obstructions within the 5-mile radius of the airport.

PROBABLE CAUSE:
planned approach..improper..pilot in command
proper altitude..not maintained..pilot in command
CONTRIBUTING FACTORS:
terrain condition..mountainous/hilly
preflight planning/preparation..inadequate..pilot in command
lack of familiarity with geographic area..pilot in command
light condition..dark night
approach charts..inaccurate
minimum descent altitude..disregarded..pilot in command

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: FTW87NA086
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 2 months
Download report: Final report

Sources:

NTSB

Location

Images:


photo (c) NTSB; Eagle, CO

Revision history:

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