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Accident description
Last updated: 17 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Sunday 20 March 1994
Time:00:36
Type:Silhouette image of generic CL60 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 601-3A
Operator:Crystal Air and Aviation
Registration: N88HA
C/n / msn: 5072
First flight: 1990
Total airframe hrs:1109
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Bassett, NE (   United States of America)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Ferry/positioning
Departure airport:Burlington International Airport, VT (BTV/KBTV), United States of America
Destination airport:Long Beach Municipal Airport, CA (LGB/KLGB), United States of America
Narrative:
A Canadair Challenger 601-3A, N88HA, operating as a positioning flight after passenger drop off, experienced a dual engine flameout during cruise flight between FL370 and FL410 in the vicinity of Bassett, Nebraska. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the subsequent forced landing in an alfalfa field. The two commercial pilots received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, an IFR flight plan was in effect. The airplane departed Burlington, Vermont approximately 21:28, with an intended destination of Long Beach, California.
The flight crew departed their home base of Long Beach, California (LGB) at 10:28, and flew to San Diego, California (SAN). They picked up two passengers and a flight attendant and departed for Boston's Logan Airport (BOS), Massachusetts. The flight arrived at BOS at 17:28 and the passengers and flight attendant deplaned. The airplane departed BOS at 18:07 with only flight crew on board. They flew to Lawrence Municipal Airport (LWM), Massachusetts where they had prearranged a "quick turnaround" fuel stop for the trip back to LGB.
The airplane landed at LWM at 18:14 with 3,000 pounds of Jet A fuel on board, and the flight crew planned to take on an additional 12,500 pounds of fuel. The contracted Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at LWM, pumped about 221 US gallons into the airplane before the fuel truck stopped pumping. Attempts to revive the fuel truck were unsuccessful. Approximately two hours after they arrived at LWM, the flight crew decided to fly to Burlington, Vermont (BVT) to pick up the remainder of the required fuel load.
As the flight crew taxied the airplane to the active runway for departure, the FBO manager radioed them to report he found water in the bottom of the fuel truck, and wanted to check for contamination in the airplane. The pilots stated although they believed any water in the fuel would be dispersed due to movement on rough taxiways and motive flow fuel system, they parked the airplane to draw fuel samples. The FBO Manager drove to meet the airplane with a general aviation type (3 to 4 ounce) fuel strainer, and fuel samples were drawn from several drain points across the airplane. Small amounts of water were found at the belly drain points; the sampling continued until clear samples were obtained.
The flight crew departed for BVT about 20:19 and arrived there approximately 20:53. They stated the flight to BVT was uneventful except for observed auxiliary tank fuel quantity gauge and fuel totalizer fluctuations. The flight crew reported as a precautionary measure they elected to top the airplane off at BVT. The fuel tanks were drained again after fueling at BVT, with no evidence of water contamination.
The flight crew departed BVT approximately 21:28. The pilots reported during the flight the IMPENDING FILTER BYPASS warning light for the left engine illuminated. They monitored other engine indications in accordance with the flight manual, and continued en route to LGB with the warning light illuminated. The pilots stated the airplane was established in cruise flight at 41,000 feet, approximately 2 1/2 hours into the flight, when the warning light went out. Shortly thereafter, the fuel LOW PRESS and fuel boost pump "ON" lights for the left engine began to flash on and off.
At 00:14, the pilots initiated a descent as the left engine began to spool down. They selected CONTINUOUS IGNITION and left engine power was restored temporarily. Approximately 00:16 the left engine lost power again. The flight crew contacted Air Traffic Control (ATC) to request a lower altitude in order to attempt engine restart within the restart envelope. The pilots stated a few minutes later, as the airplane descended through approximately 37,000 feet, the right engine lost power with no observed warning lights or indications.
The pilots stated they lost all electrical power (except center panel emergency instruments) with the loss of power on both engines. They manually deployed the Air-Driven Generator (ADG) and recovered power for pilot's side instruments, radios and 3B hydraulic pressure. The right seat pilot declared "MAYDAY", reported the loss of both engines and requested ATC vectors to the nearest airport. ATC advised the flight crew of several airports in the area, and the crew chose the closest, the Rock County Airport (RBE), in Bassett, Nebraska, for their emergency approach and landing.
The pilots reported throughout the emergency the left seat pilot flew the airplane and looked for the airport, while the right seat pilot worked the radios and attempted restarts on both engines and the APU. The flying pilot stated he set up a glide speed of 230 knots which resulted in a descent rate of about 1,500 foot per minute (fpm). He reported he selected the 230 knot airspeed as a compromise to provide the ram air necessary to keep the ADG running, but still maintain a moderate descent rate to allow time to locate the airport/runway and set up for the power off approach.
The right seat pilot stated he made 2 to 3 unsuccessful restart attempts on each engine during the emergency descent. He reported he also tried to start the APU about 7 times without success. The right seat pilot also attempted to activate the pilot controlled runway lighting system at without success.
The flying pilot reported when the airplane broke out of the overcast, he was able to locate the airport's rotating beacon, but didn't see the runway. He set the airplane up in a descending spiral above the airport and kept looking for the runway. The flying pilot stated when he finally saw the runway, he felt the airplane was too low to make a successful approach and landing. The pilots stated it was so dark they couldn't see anything, so they decided to keep the wings level and land straight ahead. The airplane impacted terrain in an alfalfa field about one mile northwest of the airport.
The airplane collided with a barbed wire fence, a cedar tree windbreak and the free end of a center pivot irrigation rig during the impact sequence.

Probable Cause:

The pilot in command's inadequate planning/decision making and inadequate preflight inspection after receiving a load of contaminated fuel. Related factors are the contaminated fuel, improper refueling by FBO personnel, and the dark night light conditions.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year
Accident number: CHI94FA116
Download report: Summary report

Classification:
Fuel contamination
All engine powerloss
Forced landing outside airport

Sources:
» NTSB


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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 Burlington International Airport, VT to Long Beach Municipal Airport, CA as the crow flies is 3974 km (2484 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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