A Cessna 550 (Citation II) arriving in
It actually was en-route to
Weather in Wilmington was about as minimal as minimal gets for instrument flying - light winds, ½ mi visibility (the minimum required visibility to try the approach) with a temperature of 11 deg C and dew point of 10 deg C (less than 2 deg spread usually = FOG), a broken cloud layer 100ft above the ground and an overcast layer at 500ft. And oh by the way, pretty dark at 0200h.
After cruising to the northwest from the Dominican Republic at 26,000ft and 330kt, the ATP-rated pilot and commercial-rated first officer set up for an instrument approach to runway 24 in N815MA at KILM, the desired end of the Part 91 IFR flight.
A picture from FlightAware shows N815MA in better days.
At the 200ft (226ft msl) decision height - the pilots saw no runway, performed a missed approach and tried again.
Second time around... same thing.
Third time around... same thing.
Fourth time around - the #1 (left) Pratt & Whitney JT15D-4 turbofan engine shuts down. The pilots request vectors from air traffic control for yet another approach, adding that they're now low on fuel.
As they're being vectored for the runway, engine #2 quits.
Even "Sully" Sullenberger (Hudson A320 ditching) probably couldn't have pulled off what these two wily pilots did next (though Sully arguably wouldn't have been trying an instrument approach for the fourth time in the middle of the night out in the marshes of eastern
I'll let the NTSB take it from here:
"...and the pilots requested an immediate turn to the airport; they were able to locate the centre of the airport on their global positioning system (GPS) and 'aimed the airplane at the intersection of the runways.'
"Approximately 50 feet above ground level (agl), the pilots saw a row of lights, paralleled the lights, landed gear up on the departure end of runway 6, overran the runway, and impacted several light stands for runway 24, coming to rest 2,242 feet past the point of the initial touchdown."
Now for the Vegas part - All five passengers and the two (former?) pilots walked away.
The aircraft was lucky too receiving "skin damage" to its underside and "several puncture holes" in the pressure vessel.