ASN logo
Accident description
Last updated: 21 October 2017
Date:Monday 7 April 2003
Type:Silhouette image of generic C500 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 501 Citation I/SP
Operator:Ibiza Flights
Registration: EC-HFA
C/n / msn: 500-0209
First flight: 1974
Total airframe hrs:13309
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-1A
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Zürich-Kloten Airport (ZRH) (   Switzerland)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Departure airport:Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN/LEBL), Spain
Destination airport:Zürich-Kloten Airport (ZRH/LSZH), Switzerland
Cessna Citation I/SP, EC-HFA, took off at 10:00 from Barcelona (BCN) on a private flight to Zurich (ZRH). The flight took place under instrument flight rules. Using radar vectors, EC-HFA was cleared at 12:05 for an ILS approach to runway 14. The right hand seat on the flight deck was occupied by a PPL-rated passenger. During approach, the passenger read out various checklist points, which were each confirmed or commented upon by the pilot.
At 12:06:39, at a distance of approximately 10 NM from ILS DME 14, the aircraft descended below 4000 ft QNH. At 12:07:07 the ATCO informed the pilot that he would be allowed to leave 4000 ft QNH only at a distance of 8 NM from ILS DME 14. The aircraft was already at 3600 ft, so he instructed EC-HFA to climb to 4000 ft QNH in order to be able to reach the ILS glide slope. The pilot answered: "(...) I got the ILS catched, but I go to 4000 ft." Subsequent to this radio conversation, the passenger mentioned the following to the pilot, with reference to the approach chart: "Lo pone aquí. Tenemos las montañas ahí – Here it is. We have hills there." EC-HFA then climbed back to an altitude of 4000 ft QNH, which it reached at approximately 8 NM. At about 7 NM, it began the descent and therefore found itself above the ILS glide slope. With the message "All stations, ah... we have now RVR one thousand four hundred metres, that’s ah... showers of snow coming ah... overhead the field and the final, out." at 12:07:41, the Zurich final ATCO informed all aircraft on the frequency that a snow shower was approaching the airport. A little later, the ATCO asked EC-HFA whether the aircraft was now stabilised on the ILS; the pilot confirmed this. At this time the aircraft was between 7 NM and 8 NM from the threshold of runway 14, approximately 200 ft above the glide slope. The ATCO also informed the pilot that the runway visual range (RVR) was now 1200 m. The pilot thanked him and asked the passenger to continue reading out the checklist.
When the aircraft was approximately six miles from the threshold of runway 14, EC-HFA was asked to contact Zurich aerodrome control. This was confirmed by the pilot on the radio. He repeated the frequency several times to the passenger, who was busy entering the frequencies in this phase of the flight. At 12:09:10, the pilot contacted aerodrome control. There followed a further discussion between the two persons in the cockpit during which the passenger mentioned that it was now essential to fly precisely straight, because there was a 2500 m high tower to one side. It is highly probable that the passenger was referring to an obstacle which is shown on the approach chart with a tower symbol. This obstacle is approximately 9 NM from ILS DME 14, just to the east of the approach centreline and shows an altitude of 2566 ft AMSL. The passenger further suggested that for this reason the autopilot should be used. He finally quoted the value of 2200 ft and asked the pilot whether he did not want to set the flaps to "full flaps" position. At this time, EC-HFA received landing clearance for runway 14. This was immediately acknowledged by the pilot. The pilot then confirmed with the words: "Full flaps... landing gear" that everything was now ready for the landing. According to the radar recordings, throughout the final approach phase EC-HFA was always between 200 and 300 ft above the glide slope. At approximately 12:11:15, EC-HFA reached the decision height of 1602 ft. The passenger asked the pilot not to fly manually but to continue to let the autopilot fly EC-HFA, because there was no ground contact at this time. Shortly afterwards, the passenger mentioned that he could now see some of the ground. A few seconds later, the passenger said: "Arrivando...Pista, ahí!...La vés?...Muy bien, vamos muy bien. Dejalo, dejalo que baje - We’re arriving... The runway, there!... Do you see it?... Very good, we’re very good. Let her go, let her go, she has to descend." At 12:11:14 the aircraft touched down on the grass about 700 m before the runway threshold and skidded in a wide right turn in the direction of the threshold of runway 16.

Probable Cause:

CAUSE: "The accident is attributable to the fact that the pilot, with insufficient visual references, continued his approach below the minimum and the aircraft collided with the ground approximately 700 m before the threshold of runway 14.
The following factors contributed to the accident:
- unsatisfactory flying qualification on the aircraft type involved in the accident.
- distraction by the passenger during the entire approach and at the decision height."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BFU Switzerlnd
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 years and 8 months
Accident number: No. 1923
Download report: Final report

Distraction in cockpit
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground



photo of Cessna 500 Citation I/SP EC-HFA
Add your photo of this accident or aircraft

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 Barcelona-El Prat Airport to Zürich-Kloten Airport as the crow flies is 851 km (532 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.
languages: languages