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Accident description
Last updated: 16 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Monday 4 June 2007
Time:ca 16:00
Type:Silhouette image of generic C550 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 550 Citation II
Operator:Marlin Air
Registration: N550BP
C/n / msn: 550-0246
First flight: 1981
Total airframe hrs:4402
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-4
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Total:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:10 km (6.3 mls) NE off Milwaukee-General Mitchell Airport, WI (MKE) (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Ambulance
Departure airport:Milwaukee-General Mitchell Airport, WI (MKE/KMKE), United States of America
Destination airport:Detroit-Willow Run Airport, MI (YIP/KYIP), United States of America
Narrative:
A Cessna Citation II, N550BP, was destroyed when it impacted Lake Michigan shortly after departure from Milwaukee-General Mitchell Airport, WI (MKE). The two pilots and four passengers were killed. The airplane was being operated by Marlin Air under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 135 and departed Milwaukee about 15:57 with an intended destination of Detroit-Willow Run Airport, MI (YIP). At the time of the accident flight, marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the surface, and instrument meteorological conditions prevailed aloft; the flight operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan.
The airplane was used to transport unspecified organs for transplant to a patient in Michigan. The pilot executed a climbing right turn to a northeast heading. The airplane's initial climb lasted for approximately one minute at which time the airplane levels off for approximately 16 seconds at a pressure altitude of 3,900 feet. The airplane then began another climb at about 1,300 feet per minute. This climb lasted for about 32 seconds at which time the airplane's pressure altitude was 4,400 feet. Radar data then showed the airplane in a descending left turn for the remaining 69 seconds of the data. The average descent rate during this period was 2,260 feet per minute. The airplane impacted the water of Lake Michigan approximately 243 knots indicated airspeed, 42 degrees nose down, and 115 degrees left wing down.
During the climb the crew declared an emergency and their intention to return to Milwaukee. During those communications, one of the flight crewmembers reported that they had experienced a runaway trim.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the pilots’ mismanagement of an abnormal flight control situation through improper actions, including failing to control airspeed and to prioritize control of the airplane, and lack of crew coordination. Contributing to the accident were Marlin Air’s operational safety deficiencies, including the inadequate checkrides administered by Marlin Air’s chief pilot/check airman, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to detect and correct those deficiencies, which placed a pilot who inadequately emphasized safety in the position of company chief pilot and designated check airman and placed an ill-prepared pilot in the first officer’s seat."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 4 months
Accident number: NTSB AAR-09/06
Download report: Final report

Classification:

Loss of control

Sources:
» Medical Transport Plane Crashes In Lake Michigan (CBS Chicago, 4-6-2007)
» NTSB


Follow-up / safety actions

NTSB issued 17 Safety Recommendations

Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations

Photos

photo of Cessna 550 Citation II N550BP
Fragments of the left wing.
photo of Cessna 550 Citation II N550BP
Most of the outboard right wing was recovered in one large piece.
photo of Cessna 550 Citation II N550BP
Ground Track of N550BP Accident Flight Based on STARS Data
photo of Cessna 550 Citation II N550BP
Computer depiction of the approximate impact attitude shown by the attitude indicator
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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 Milwaukee-General Mitchell Airport, WI to Detroit-Willow Run Airport, MI as the crow flies is 363 km (227 miles).
Accident location: Global; accuracy within tens or hundreds of kilometers.

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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Citation II

  • 603 built
  • 37th loss
  • 13th fatal accident
  • 4th worst accident
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