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LJ24, vicinity Belleville Illinois USA, 2003

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Summary
On November 12, 2003, a Bombardier Learjet 24D being operated on a non scheduled flight by Multi-Aero Inc. was destroyed during a forced landing and post crash fire following a loss of power in both engines after an encounter with a flock of birds just after take off from St. Louis Downtown Airport.
Event Details
When November 2003
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Bird Strike, Fire Smoke and Fumes, Loss of Control
Day/Night Day
Flight Conditions VMC
Flight Details
Aircraft LEAR JET Learjet 24
Operator Multi Aero Corporation
Domicile United States
Type of Flight Public Transport (Passenger)
Origin St. Louis Downtown Airport
Intended Destination North Platte
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed No
Flight Phase Climb
ICL / ENR
Location - Airport
Airport vicinity St. Louis Downtown Airport
BS
Tag(s) Flocking Birds,
Engine Ingestion
FIRE
Tag(s) Post Crash Fire
LOC
Tag(s) Loss of Engine Power,
Environmental Factors,
Bird or Animal Strike
Outcome
Damage or injury Yes
Aircraft damage Hull loss
Non-aircraft damage Yes
Injuries Few occupants
Off Airport Landing Yes
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) None Made
Investigation Type
Type Independent

Description

On November 12, 2003, a Bombardier Learjet 24D being operated on a non scheduled flight by Multi-Aero Inc. was destroyed during a forced landing and post crash fire following a loss of power in both engines after an encounter with a flock of birds just after take off from St. Louis Downtown Airport. Subsequent circumstantial evidence suggested that a flock of European Starlings might have been present. The flight had departed in accordance with a remotely issued take off clearance prior to the local ATC TWR opening.

The flight crew reported being unable to maintain altitude or attempt engine relight with the residual thrust available and a forced landing was made in which the aircraft contacted the terrain on the downward side of a shallow sloping hill located about three miles from the departure airport. It was destroyed by the impact and a post-crash fire during which most of the cabin and tailcone were burned out. The center section of the fuel tank remained structurally intact, although damaged by impact forces. All three landing gear legs were still attached to the aircraft and found in the retracted position.

The nose of the aircraft remained intact, but the flight deck received extensive fire and heat damage. Both windshields were melted and the upper skin was consumed. The outboard section of the left wing had separated from the aircraft about 4-5 feet outboard of the fuselage The right wing remained attached to the forward fuselage section. The outboard section of the wing remained attached to the inboard wing section, but it was broken about mid-span and it was partially consumed by fire.

All onboard escaped with minor or no injuries.

The Investigation

In their Report issued in January 2006, the National Transportation Safety Board (USA) (NTSB) determined that the probable cause of the accident was “The total loss of power to the right engine and the partial loss of power to the left engine after the airplane encountered a flock of birds during initial climb out, resulting in impeded ram induction airflow”.

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Further Reading

  • For further information see the NTSB Report CHI04FA029