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Aspen Challenger Jet crash captured on video

Airport surveillance video has been released that captured the crash of the Challenger Jet at Aspen on January 5th. (vimeo.com) さらに...

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I have a question. I'm only 16 but is there only one direction to land at aspen? Because the approach looked very fast and he was landing with the wind. This also means there could've been windshear. Is it not possible to land on that particular runway going the other way? Because isn't it common logic to land going into the wind?
Good question. I had the same question immediately upon hearing about the accident. My suspicion about the need to land in that particular direction were later confirmed.

There's a huge mountain on the other end of the runway. So yeah, they are pretty much restricted in landing from and taking off from the one end. Even on the side that's used for flight operations, you can see quite a bit of fairly steep mountainous terrain. Still it's the better option.
Quickie? Aspen (KASE) has one runway (15/33). Rapid change in elev and town of Aspen to south [Google Earth to explore terrain/alt.]. Aspenairport.com has rather detailed operating procedures 'and' noise abatement plan. Copy/pasted: "Meteorological conditions permitting, use Runway 15 for all landings. NOTE: Using Runway 33 necessitates a high approach without overflying the town of Aspen". No noisy night flights here either! So large population of skiers who don't like noisy planes bringing in more skiers can be found on mountainous terrain south of rwy 33? This may shed light on desire for rwy 15. This approach appears to be safer (elev), skier friendlier (quieter), and overall 'preferred'. Sounds to me like hot/fast landings are fairly common.
biz jets 1
N535PC Learjet 35A Feb 13 1991 crashed r/w 15 3 dead
XA-ICA Learjet 60 Jan 6 1996 overrun landing r/w 15 crew survived
N303GA Gulfstream III Mar 29 2001 18 dead crash landing r/w 15
N500SW Learjet 60 Jun 7 2012 went off side of runway - all survived
N115WF Challenger 601 Jan 5 2014 1 dead landing r/w 15
There is a lot more to this than simple runway preference. Watching media coverage of this event and making inferences is foolish and I am guilty. The way I have this pictured in my mind is not close to the reality. This is not a sleepy airport with bored ATC like mine is. This is Aspen during ski season. The airport is hopping with plenty of traffic, metal and comm. There are planes lined up for departure on 33 and a stream of arrivals on 15. There are also wind shear issues. You can listen to archived ATC on LiveATC.net. I joined this forum because I saw something in the IR camera video that no one mentioned in media or online. I didn't see a busy airport, other traffic, or pireps. This accident did not occur in the vacuum of my mind! I will say one thing with certainty before I crawl back under my rock, 'I've learned a lot about flying into Aspen'.
biz jets 2
I watched the videos earlier today - took me a few minutes to recover after watching them.

Captain is still in critical condition, the passenger was released from the hospital in Colorado - not sure if he was flown to a Mexican hospital or home?

RIP condolences again to the co-pilot - NTSB has stated investigation final report should be released in 18 months.
mikeap 1
I'm not a pilot, could someone explain what he attempted to do here? Did he try and do a touch and go? Or did he bounce off the ground?

I see touch and go with small planes often. I'm assuming they can't be done in a biz jet? Can someone explain why?

At what point is a go-around too late to try...50 ft? Is there a point at which its better to just land and see what happens versus trying to go around?

Genuinely interested.
biz jets 2
It will be 18 months before we know what happened.

Though we can see the flight path, we don't know why it occurred.

Factually the aircraft was landing with a tail wind above the legal requirements for landing a Challenger 601. So you have changing winds, tailwind, windshear, pressure to land, stress from previous missed approach.

We don't know if the dive to the runway after the highspeed bounce - was caused by the pilots attempt to land, a pilot slamming into the controls after the bounce, combination of windshear, if they applied power to go around????

On an extensive investigation can answer your question - both Black Boxes were recovered and will be eventually released.


Touch and goes can be done in bizjets/airliners etc., no problem.


In an emergency a go around can occur until you run out of runway and crash - it can be split second decision with life and death results.

Here is a crash of a Hawker with a tail wind, landing on a wet runway, who attempted a go around and ran out of runway;

Lately, I've been interested in this very question, about the split second decision to stick a landing or go around in the last seconds of flight.

Seems like a good question to consider in pilot training to improve pilot decision making under pressure in difficult situations.

[There are a number of recent incidents that bring the question to mind, from Asiana trying to go around too late, to the Drwamlifter and SW 737 sticking their landing at unexpectedly short runways at he wrong airports, to this Challenger going around once, then bouncing hard an crashing on the second attempted landing, and many more.]
ccthorp 1
Best footage: http://fox4kc.com/2014/01/22/video-shows-planes-fatal-crash-landing-in-aspen-colorado/
biz jets 1
Just watched the videos again, small bounce, followed by a big bounce with sparks coming from the nose wheel, followed by possible aerodynamic stall???
The video from camera #5 is almost unbelievable. The approach is quite steep and fast, they flare, bounce hard and then abruptly nose-dive and burst into flames on impact.
Ya know, it looks like after the bounce they pushed the nose down. With all that speed you wouldn't think it was the result of stalling. That was a carrier landing X 2.
I thought the same at first, but I doubt the control surfaces have that much authority. I'm guessing the tail got dislocated during the hard landing and bounce, resulting in static down elevator from the vertical stabilizer.
There's a reason the jet isn't certified to land with this much tail wind.

1. The more the tail wind, the faster the approach speed. The more the speed, the greater chance to mess things up.

2. Whenever you have this much wind, it is always always invariably gusty. Variability in wind is even worse, than een greater but constant wind. Especially at critical moments, like at touchdown, variability is even more dangerous.

I didn't look at the video close enough to make a definitive determination, but it seemed that the plane was beij thrown around in the wind as it descended. Seemed to me it was reflective of the gusty and variable nature of the wind.

What exactly happened inside the cockpit, I'll leave to others to guess. We'll learn more definitive info on that front when the eventual NTSB report is issued.

Clearly, the conditions weren't among the best. The pilots were completely new to the aircraft (except for the contracted pilot with type experience).

Given the difficulty of the conditions, and the fact that there had been already one go around, one would hope the experienced pilot took over the landing. Who knows? If it were an evaluation flight (for the purpose of making a purchase decision), maybe the pilots, who would be expected to make these landings regularly, may have wanted to perform all landings themselves.

Some pilots make landings like these all the time, so might not think much of it. But the winds may have exceeded the capabilities of the plane and/or the pilots.
We are only seeing a few seconds of the approach, the ones that count. I wonder if they ever achieved a "stabilized approach" ? In conditions like that the plane better be very familiar: as the saying goes, like an extension of yourself.
Yup, that's exactly where I'm going with my comment.

Only one person on that plane could've known the plane so well. But not sure if he was flying, or just around to explain the plane and to teach the other guys how to handle it.
Hard as they hit that very well could be.
Ya that makes sense cause it was too abrupt for a stall

[This poster has been suspended.]

[This poster has been suspended.]

Look at the wind gust on camera #4, you can see it on the ramp
Play the video start-pause repeatedly at/after nose gear touchdown. You will see (at least I do) damage to nose gear (possible collapse) and accompanying sparks. This is closely followed in sequence by a fire in left engine (possibly both). Nose gear did not break off as it appears to be visible in post-accident photo. Apparent nose strut orientation here is clearly aft in the wheel well. This is what 'I' observe. You may see this differently. I make no assertions as to the root cause of the accident. See NTSB preliminary for reported weather. I look forward to NTSB release of CVR/DFR data and final report. Any accident with fatalities and/or serious injury is tragic. Hopefully knowledge will be gained and/or lessons learned here to prevent a recurrence.
Thanks for taking the time to look it so closely.

Nose gear , hiwever, wouldn't account for the hard landing, bounce, attaining significant post contact altitude and then pitching nose down into the ground.
Attitude at touchdown appears to me to be nose down and nose wheel first. Be sure to watch camera with dedicated view of final approach. If the nose gear collapsed as it appears (to me), there would have been tremendous vibration. One can only imagine the terror in the cockpit while skidding nose down with blinking warning lights and audible alarms. Pilot clearly attempts abort (nose up. Did pilot see engine fire indication and attempt to abort 'the abort' (nose down)? Panic is conceivable. What actually happened in mind of pilot during these precious seconds we may never know. Was there sufficient engine performance to maintain abort thrust? Were both engines on fire? One can speculate here with 'many' scenarios. It is best to wait for the NTSB to make a thorough evaluation of this one. Also, I meant 'FDR' in earlier comment (not 'DFR'). The recorded flight data and timeline here will provide many answers to our questions.
With events like this we do a lot of guessing and speculating here. I usually learn something even from the speculating, someone else's is usually different than mine. I think most is done in earnest and I doubt anybody on here knows it all so I personally enjoy hearing everyone's take. One thing that hits me looking at the film is that after the initial touchdown (??) there was never a chance of a go around and the pilots knew it. Even if there was a chance of limping back to airborne who would want to given weather, terrain, damage, etc. Sometimes you got to accept what you got. At least 2 lived and that looks damn lucky to me.
I certainly agree. When you consider how fast this happened the pilot response is remarkable. I can think of a thousand places I would rather be 'limping back to' than Aspen in winter with gusty winds. My gut feeling is pilot reacted to fire warning light(s). [view courtesy ABC News] This accident presents more questions than answers. There are plenty of 'knowns' we could discuss and likely result in more questions. Until release of cockpit data we are stuck. Even ATC transcript would help. You can bet this squawk will heat up as facts become available.
It looks as though when they first touched down that there was a problem with the nose wheel and that they tried to lift off and go around again. The nose dive at then end looked way to abrupt to be a stall there had to be elevator malfunction or something..... There didn't seem to be much of a flare so it could have been a hard enough landing to damage the nose wheel. The wind gusts look significant though I'm not sure how much wind that aircraft could take. It will be interesting to see what they say in the final report.
biz jets 0
Looking at it closely it appears the aircraft landed on it's nose wheel first, then mains, and bounced, came back down hard and porpoised - same accident that occurred to N611FE FedEx MD-11F - http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19970731-0 .

I don't believe anything 'broke', but the pilots missed their chance to save it, not sure if someone added power or not - two Captains up front - who knows - they would have had a second between them to react.
ccthorp 0
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

New Video Shows Fatal Aspen Plane Crash

Newly released video may provide clues about what caused a private plane to crash off a runway in Aspen, Colo., earlier this month, leaving one person dead and two others injured. The black-and-white video, captured by five infrared cameras, shows the plane exploding in flames after it landed off the side of the runway and flipped over.

(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

video of the Aspen crash 5 views.

The video was released in response to a Colorado Open Records Act request from Aspen Journalism, which provided 9NEWS with the video.

One person was killed and two injured when the Canadair CL-600 crashed while attempting to land at the airport.

Sergio Carranza Brabata was killed.

Investigators say all three were pilots from Mexico and were flying to Aspen from Toluca, Mexico, to pick up family and friends. They were the only ones aboard.

Investigators haven't said who was in control of the plane at the time of the crash.
Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=5cc_1390360523#G4K7Huo8EykLXfAy.99

ccthorp 0
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Video shows plane’s fatal crash landing in Aspen, Colorado

The plane is only in the shot for a few seconds. But in that time, it goes from just another small aircraft landing at a Colorado airport to a horrific fireball.
New video from the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport may provide clues about what went wrong on January 5 when the crash killed a co-pilot. Two other people on board the small plane were injured.



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