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Last updated: 27 November 2021
Status:Preliminary - official
Date:Thursday 23 January 2020
Type:Silhouette image of generic C550 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna S550 Citation S/II
Operator:South African Civil Aviation Authority
Registration: ZS-CAR
MSN: S550-0078
First flight: 1986
Total airframe hrs:10106
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-4B
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:5 km (3.1 mls) NW of Friemersheim (   South Africa)
Crash site elevation: 668 m (2192 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:George Airport (GRJ/FAGG), South Africa
Destination airport:George Airport (GRJ/FAGG), South Africa
A Cessna S550 Citation S/II of the South African Civil Aviation Authority crashed into the Outeniqua mountains, near the town of Friemersheim. The three occupants were killed and the aircraft was destroyed.
The Citation departed Port Elizabeth Airport (FAPE) on a positioning flight to George Airport (FAGG). On approach to FAGG, the flying crew requested to carry out a calibration flight for the very high frequency omnidirectional range (VOR) beacon at FAGG. Due to inclement weather conditions at the time, they were not cleared to conduct VOR calibration. As a result, they decided to land and refuel the aircraft before commencing with the calibration of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) on runway 11 at FAGG. The flying crew requested take-off from runway 11 and an early right turn to intercept radial 250°, 17 nautical miles (nm) DME arc to radial 330° at 3000 feet (ft) climbing to 4000ft. The air traffic control (ATC) granted their request.
Radar data indicated that at 10:42, the aircraft took off from runway 11 and, once airborne, made a right-hand turn to intercept radial 250° using the George VOR (GRV VOR). The aircraft climbed to 3000ft. Once the aircraft reached 17nm on the DME from the GRV VOR (DME is co-located with the VOR), it commenced with a right-hand turn to intercept radial 330° while maintaining 17nm DME arc.
At 10:46, the ATC at FAGG advised the flying crew that they were now exiting controlled airspace and were advised to broadcast on the special rules frequency. The crew acknowledged the advisory to change frequency and there was no further communication. The aircraft was still being monitored by ATC using secondary surveillance radar.
At 10:50, radar data showed the aircraft crossing radial 310° and entered a climb from 3000ft, reaching 3900ft. As the aircraft levelled off at 3900ft, a rapid descent occurred, and the aircraft lost 1500ft in approximately 9 seconds. Three seconds prior to impact, the aircraft nose pitched up before impacting a ridge at 2192ft.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Status: Investigation ongoing
Accident number: CA18/2/3/9855
Download report: Preliminary report

» S.A. CAA

METAR Weather report:
08:00 UTC / 10:00 local time:
FAGG 230800Z 11012KT 070V130 9999 FEW008 SCT011 BKN023 18/16 Q1018

10:00 UTC / 12:00 local time:
FAGG 231000Z 11015KT 9999 FEW010 SCT015 BKN030 19 /// Q1018

Follow-up / safety actions

CAA S.A. issued 1 Safety Recommendation

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photo of Cessna-S550-Citation-S-II-ZS-CAR
accident date: 23-01-2020
type: Cessna S550 Citation S/II
registration: ZS-CAR


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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