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Accident description
Last updated: 11 December 2017
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 6 May 1980
Time:03:12
Type:Silhouette image of generic LJ23 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Learjet 23
Operator:Kennedy Flite Center
Registration: N866JS
C/n / msn: 23-018
First flight:
Total airframe hrs:4861
Engines: 2 General Electric CJ610-1
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Richmond International Airport (Byrd Field), VA (RIC) (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 51 m (167 feet) amsl
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Training
Departure airport:Gainesville-J R Alison Municipal Airport, FL (GNV/KGNV), United States of America
Destination airport:Richmond International Airport (Byrd Field), VA (RIC/KRIC), United States of America
Narrative:
A Gates Learjet 23, N866JS, was being operated on a flight from Richmond, VA (RIC) to Louisville, KY (SDF), continuing to Gainesville, FL (GNV), and returning to Richmond. The pilot, received the appropriate weather briefings and filed three instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plans. The aircraft departed Richmond at 21:28 with two pilots aboard. The flight to Louisville was uneventful, as was the subsequent flight to Gainesville with six passengers aboard. The aircraft departed Gainesville at 01:52 with only the two pilots aboard.
Upon arrival in the Richmond area, the flightcrew requested an ILS approach to runway 33. They were cleared for the approach and landing. Witnesses stated that the aircraft crossed the runway threshold "a bit high," started to rock, and rolled inverted as engine thrust increased. The aircraft crashed adjacent to the runway at 03:12 and burst into flame. Both pilots were killed.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE:"The pilot's failure to maintain proper airspeed and aircraft attitude while transitioning from final approach through flare to touchdown. The low-speed/high angle-of attack flight condition precipitated wing rolloff, wingtip strikes, and ultimate loss of aircraft control.
The pilot's improper technique during roundout may have been due to fatigue, his limited knowledge, training, and experience regarding the flight characteristics of the Learjet aircraft, and distraction caused by concern over the intensity of the approach lighting."

Classification:
Loss of control

Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 3 Safety Recommendations

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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Gainesville-J R Alison Municipal Airport, FL to Richmond International Airport (Byrd Field), VA as the crow flies is 976 km (610 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

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