US investigators have determined that only one pilot – rather than the two required – was flying an IAI 1125 Westwind Astra business jet when it landed long and overran at North Las Vegas airport.
Both occupants of the cockpit provided false names after the accident, but investigators later determined that only one of them was a pilot.
The aircraft (N771DX) had taken off from the airport on 14 November 2021 and operated within the traffic pattern.
But after conducting its approach, it touched down 2,000ft along runway 30R which has a length of about 4,200ft.
The aircraft skidded off the runway end, crossing the non-intersecting runway 25/07, and travelling over a culvert which sheared off its nose-gear and main landing-gear before coming to rest, its wings having been substantially damaged.
US FAA field evidence submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board states that the two occupants “gave false names” to airport personnel after the accident, and left the scene.
When the FAA tracked down the pilot, he said he had been one of two contract pilots hired to carry out a pre-sale flight of the Westwind, and claimed he did not known the name of the other pilot. He also said this other pilot had been commanding, and sitting in the left-hand seat.
But after discovering that the other contract pilot had been in Florida on the date of the accident, the FAA learned that the second occupant of the aircraft was not a pilot but a passenger. The inquiry eventually determined that the passenger was a family friend.
It points out that the Westwind requires a minimum of two pilots at the controls.
No relevant information could be obtained from the cockpit-voice recorder, which was found to be damaged, with the limited audio recording consistent with the recorder’s having failed in operation prior to the accident.
Investigators were informed that the nose-gear indicator had been “intermittent” when the undercarriage was extended before landing, and that the initial approach was aborted.
Surveillance video from the scene shows the aircraft subsequently touched down nearly halfway along 30R, with its landing-gear fully extended, but its thrust-reversers were not deployed. The aircraft stopped nearly 1,000ft off the runway end.