The US National Transportation Safety Board has ruled that faulty airmanship was the primary cause of a fatal crash of a Cessna Citation 560 business jet, owned by US electricals store chain Circuit City, on approach to the Pueblo Memorial airport in Colorado on 16 February 2005.
Contributing to the accident however was the US Federal Aviation Administration’s “failure to establish adequate certification requirements for flight into icing conditions which led to the inadequate stall warning margin provided by the aircraft’s stall warning system,” the board said during the 23 January hearing.
Killed along with the pilots were six Circuit City employees and contractors en route from Richmond, Virginia to Santa Ana, California. The pilots were employed by charter operator, Martinair. The aircraft was stopping in Colorado for fuel.
NTSB investigators found that the crew in the presence of numerous distractions, including icing, a switch in expected runways and ill-timed missed approach procedure discussions, failed to monitor the aircraft’s speed. As a result, the captain allowed the airspeed to steadily decrease to well below target approach speeds for flight in icing conditions.
In addition, both pilots failed to heed aircraft operating manual and company guidance to activate the wing leading edge pneumatic deicing “boot” system when the aircraft is in landing configuration and ice is detected on the wings. The combination of the two caused the aircraft to slow below flying speed, stall and crash.
The board’s safety recommendations include: