Saturday, April 02, 2022

Learjet 75, N877W: Accident occurred April 02, 2022 at Morristown Municipal Airport (KMMU), Morris County, New Jersey

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Teterboro, New Jersey
Bombardier; Dorval, Quebec
Honeywell; Phoenix, Arizona

Georgia Crown Distributing Company


Location: Morristown, New Jersey
Accident Number: ERA22LA175
Date and Time: April 2, 2022, 11:19 Local 
Registration: N877W
Aircraft: LEARJET INC 45
Injuries: 4 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On April 2, 2022, at 1119 eastern daylight time, a Learjet Inc 45, N877W, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Morristown Municipal Airport (MMU), Morristown, New Jersey. The airline transport pilots and the two passengers sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

Each crewmember provided written statements, and their statements were consistent throughout. According to the captain in the left seat, the airplane was established on a visual approach for landing on runway 23. The reported wind was from 340° at 3 knots gusting to 16 knots. The quartering tailwind was computed “within limits,” the thrust reversers were deployed at touchdown, and the airplane turned “sharply to the right.” According to the captain, “It felt unusual. Normal crosswind correction inputs made no difference, extreme inputs were made, and still no control was possible.” The airplane departed the right side of the runway, and the entire wing structure separated from the main fuselage, which continued for about 100 ft before coming to rest upright. The crew shut down the airplane and exited the main cabin door along with one passenger, while the second passenger egressed the airplane by the emergency exit.

Examination of track data and airport surveillance video revealed a nominal approach profile and that the airplane crossed the runway threshold about 120 knots groundspeed. About 9 seconds into the landing roll, the airplane turned sharply to its right. The airplane departed the runway, its left wingtip struck the ground, the entire wing structure (left wing/right wing/wingbox) separated from the airplane as one assembly, and the fuselage continued a short distance before it came to rest upright. The thrust reversers on each engine were deployed, and their positions were approximately matched.

The windsock in the foreground of the video was nearly parallel to the ground and pointed about 90° toward the runway and the airplane’s right side.

The accident site was photographed, and a cursory examination of the airplane was completed by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector. Examination of photographs revealed skid marks on the runway traced back along the paved surface from the ground scars that marked the airplane’s runway excursion. The skid marks appeared about 1,200 feet beyond the approach end of runway 23 and arced to the airplane’s right about 560 ft before the skid marks transitioned to tracks in the grass apron. The tracks continued an estimated 100 ft farther down the landing direction and about 90 ft right of the paved surface to where the main wing assembly came to rest. The fuselage rested upright, about 120 feet beyond the point the airplane departed the paved surface, and 110 ft right of the paved surface.

The captain held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land. He was issued a second-class medical certificate March 30, 2022. The captain reported 8,834 total hours of flight experience of which 1,599 were in the accident airplane make and model. The first officer held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land. He was issued a second-class medical certificate April 5, 2021. The first officer reported 9,582 total hours of flight experience of which 5,146 were in the accident airplane make and model.

The airplane was manufactured in 2014. The most recent inspection in its continuous airworthiness program was completed November 15, 2021, at 3,074.4 total aircraft hours.

The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was retained and forwarded to the NTSB Recorders Laboratory in Washington, DC. The wreckage was recovered for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: LEARJET INC
Registration: N877W
Model/Series: 45 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: MMU,187 ft msl 
Observation Time: 11:25 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 7°C /-5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 25000 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / 14 knots, 320°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Atlanta, GA (FTY)
Destination: Morristown, NJ

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 40.799338,-74.414889

Aircraft landed, veered off runway and right wing struck the grass.

Date: 02-APR-22
Time: 15:19:00Z
Regis#: N877W
Aircraft Make: LEARJET
Aircraft Model: 45
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: MORRISTOWN
State: NEW JERSEY




N877W
Bombardier Learjet 45
Crashed during landing at KMMU around 1520Z
Airport closed by NOTAM
Per ATC audio and early reporting no immediately apparent injuries.
Also, LiveATC.net audio 1500-1530Z KMMU Tower #1




A Learjet 75 from Georgia left the runway upon landing at Morristown Municipal Airport on Saturday morning.

All four persons onboard egressed safely, with no reported injuries, said Morristown Police Capt. Stuart Greer.

Firefighters and police from the town responded to the 11:20 a.m. incident, which shut down the airport.

The plane, which was flying from Fulton County Executive Airport near Atlanta, sustained “significant damage” as it left runway 23, coming to rest in a runway safety area, Greer said in a statement.

The wings separated from the aircraft, confirmed Corey Hanlon, a spokesman for Morristown Airport.  He said the plane was a Learjet 75.  The airport was likely to remain closed into Saturday evening, he said.

Greer said the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating what the airport  classified as a “Category B runway incident.” The Federal Aviation Administration describes a “Category B runway incursion” as an incident where “there is a significant potential for collision,” requiring quick action.

Morristown Green has reached out to the NTSB for comment and will update this story as more information becomes available.

37 comments:

  1. I can't remember, if ever, the last time I saw an entire wing ripped off a jet intact. Wow! They were very fortunate that the fuselage rolled right instead of left, allowing the crew and passengers an escape route.

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    1. There’s an emergency exit on the opposite side so no big deal.

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    2. FlexJet/Options did this to a Phenom a few years back

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    3. N877W landed RW23 in gusting crosswind from the right side.

      KMMU 021525Z 32006G14KT 10SM FEW250 07/M05 A3011

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    4. Gust from the right side might have been the initiating event. Will be interesting to learn whether the long narrow dirt scar leaving the pavement was made by the left wing tip or by a main gear plowing from braking applied/seized up.

      Seems like the left wing tip would have to stub into the dirt to impose the necessary force relationship that would leave the wing behind.

      The wing assembly photographed at rest has been spun 180 degrees in the horizontal from the direction of travel, suggesting that it wasn't a wing turn-under separation.

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    5. The entire wing subassembly is separate from the fuselage, and attached as a unit during the plane's final assembly. Most planes aren't built this way, so if you hit something with enough force to take off a wing or two, they'd leave the center section with the fuselage.

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    6. Just as an FYI, joining the fuselage to a fully assembled wing was also done on Cessna Citations and Mooneys.

      http://www.davemorris.com/Photos/Mooney%20Factory%20Tour/FullScreen-IMG_1602.jpg

      https://www.flyingmag.com/aircraft-jets-project-milestone-cessna-citation-latitude/

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    7. The 20/30 series Lears require a "wing de-mate" every 12/15 yrs to inspect for corrosion. I believe the 40/45 series has the same requirement. It says this is a Lear 75. Registration says it's a 45. It's a moot point because the 75 is a version built off of the 40/45 type cert. This airframe is 12 yrs old. Being built to accommodate that inspection explains why the wings separated as a unit. That's how they detach during the inspection. Looking at the only picture available here of the wing, I don't see enough leading edge damage to have ripped the wings off. It would take a lot of damage before being ripped off the fuselage with brute force. Maybe maintenance done poorly or severe mistreatment (before this landing). In any case, they should be real happy this didn't happen in the air!

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    8. I highly doubt a 16kt gusting crosswind is an issue. More likely there was some sort of mechanical failure with steering? brakes? I know some of the Learjets use electrically driven nose wheel steering and I *THINK* the rate of steering changes based upon speed or some other factor.

      I want to say any pilot past student should be able to handle a gusting 16kt wind but alas I'm sure there are plenty that can't or are afraid.

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    9. That continuous ground scar keeps going beyond the divots that appear to represent wingtip ground contact points that had to happen at some point in order to spin the wing assembly 180 degrees in the horizontal. Could that scar have been made by deflected nose gear, Piper Meridian excursion style?

      Setting down with the Lear 75 nose steering deflected seven degrees from right rudder input is possible if the description below is correct:

      "Nosewheel steering is digitally controlled via the rudder pedals, with up to 60 degrees’ turning at slow speeds and limited to 7 degrees once speed reaches 70 knots. In towing configuration, the nosewheel can pivot 360 degrees, with the sole limitation the configuration of the towbar."

      From:
      https://web.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2019-01-17/pilot-report-learjet-75

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    10. Just for the record .. the Learjet 45/75 Wing is designed to separate with a heavy impact .. purpose is to get the fuel away from the fuselage. Lear N279AJ in Telluride .. same outcome.

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    11. Navion was also built with wing asm mated complete and fuselage fitted to the full wing and center section.

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    12. Long narrow dirt scar is from the left main. The left wing tip impacted shortly after leaving the asphalt which caused it to spin faster than the fuselage disconnecting the two and allowing the fuselage to continue the 50’ journey on its own

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    13. For an experienced jet pilot, 15 or 20 knots of gusty crosswind is just fun. This should have had nothing to do with this crash. I'd start to be concerned if I had +25 to 30 Knots of crosswind. To the person who mentioned the nose wheel being deflected upon touchdown, if this were the problem, jets would be departing the runway many times a day.

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  2. track @ https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=ac124b&lat=40.803&lon=-74.409&zoom=17.0&showTrace=2022-04-02&trackLabels&timestamp=1648912768

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  3. It's interesting the NTSB immediately indicated they were investigating this as a runway *incursion* incident, specifically as a "Category B" incident which in part is defined as a loss of separation that may result in immediate "evasive action". If correct, that seems to strongly imply that something was on the runway that shouldn't have been and the pilots left the runway to avoid it. Has there been any other reporting on what that might have been?

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    1. That is what I noticed.
      ATC audio had advised of traffic on inbound final but had sounded like it had cleared them .. perhaps they ended up on the same runway ?

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    2. Tower advised 77W that the traffic had passed behind 77w and was "no factor" at the 17 minute mark of the LiveAtc recording, more than two minutes before 77w landed.

      There were aircraft using RW31 interspersed with the RW23 activity. Cessna 172 N712SP was coming in for RW31 to land after 77W but given a go around after 77W went off-roading, as heard on LiveAtc and seen in this combined plot showing both aircraft tracks:

      https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=ac124b,a98519&lat=40.801&lon=-74.428&zoom=12.5&showTrace=2022-04-02&leg=2,2&trackLabels

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    3. I think the definition of a Category B incursion used by the FAA is different from a Category B incident definition used in an airport emergency plan. Generally, the category of an aircraft incident in the Airport Emergency Operation Plan is used for dispatching the initial emergency response teams. The category identifies the scale of the emergency response requested including personnel, equipment and the specific mutual aid agencies involved which is based on the size of the aircraft. Size includes things like aircraft weight, passenger capacity and fuel capacity. This simplifies the notification to multiple agencies so everyone knows who is requested to respond, what resources they will bring and the staging location.

      From MorristownGreen.com ..."the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating what the airport classified as a “Category B runway incident.” The Federal Aviation Administration describes a “Category B runway incursion” as an incident where “there is a significant potential for collision,” requiring quick action.

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    4. Preliminary report will clear up the incursion question. Uninjured pilots and that sharp-sounding controller in the tower know whether what the AIN describes as a veer-off was done to avoid a collision.

      Listening to the LiveAtc ground recording for KMMU doesn't reveal any aircraft in the near time period taxi-crossing RW23 on taxiway B for RW31 departure or holding there.

      The AIN "veer off" notice:
      https://www.asias.faa.gov/apex/f?p=100:96:9810353098342::::P96_ENTRY_DATE,P96_MAKE_NAME,P96_FATAL_FLG:04-APR-22,LEARJET

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    5. Linked below is the dispatch alert audio that went out to emergency responders, which states "Category B" to the units called. The "Category B" info is the only descriptive info given that would inform responding units on the level of response required.

      It isn't logical to believe that emergency responders were being advised in that dispatch using FAA's incursion category definition of an incident where there was a significant potential for collision. Nothing in that FAA incursion language informs responders of the situation that is present in the aftermath.

      The entire discussion of a veer off while avoiding an incursion would seem to be disposed of when the dispatch purpose and context is considered.

      Dispatch audio:
      https://dispatchalert.net/morris/Morristown-24-Airport-Rescue_2022_04_02_11_21_14.mp3

      From:
      https://twitter.com/MorrisAlert/status/1504850635061145603

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    6. ^^ Correction of the "from" for the dispatch alert:

      April 2 alert source is actually from:
      https://twitter.com/MorrisAlert/status/1510276725913104385

      It is notable that the March 18 dispatch (posted in error above) called out a "Category A" response on that date.

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    7. it was a category B as far as the AEP is concerned there was no runway incursion it also wasnt a lear 75 stuff got mixed up in the reporting as usually does

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    8. All Learjet 75's show up as model 45 in the registration records. The 75 is a model 45 variant based on the 45 certification.

      The MMEL for the Learjet 70 and 75 shows "LEARJET 45 (70/75)" with serial numbering block allocations as follows:

      (Learjet 75) S/N 45-456 through 2000
      (Learjet 70) S/N 45-2134 through 4000

      From:
      https://fsims.faa.gov/wdocs/mmel/lr-45%20(70-75)_rev%200a.pdf

      Because the model 75 is a 45 variant, make/model searches using Manufacturer Name selections of Lear, Learjet, Learjet Inc, and Bombardier won't return any registrations for Model Name 75. Link:

      https://registry.faa.gov/AircraftInquiry/Search/MakeModelInquiry

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  4. Photo linked below of wing assembly (view from topside, at rest after the separation) was posted to Jetcareers forum:

    https://jetcareers.com/forums/attachments/d393efe2-ee57-4b33-92b4-e512a4c80b0a-jpeg.64148/

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    1. Another photo showing more of the dirt thrown onto the runway:

      https://jetcareers.com/forums/attachments/6017d7c9-975a-4d0c-afe6-27a30264cb5c-jpeg.64142/

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  5. The Fire and EMS dispatcher, called out a "Category B response"


    It might have gotten misinterpreted on the way to the news media..

    From the Fire and EMS dispatch recording posted above they list all the units dispatched to the airport and say
    "Category B response"


    From this
    https://forums.radioreference.com/threads/morristown-airport-alerts.129116/

    It has listed
    Response
    CATEGORY B - EMS Response: 2 MICU Rigs, BLS – 3 Morristown, 1 Florham Park, 2 Morris Minute Men. FD Response = Two 1,000 gallon pumpers from Motown, one 1,000 gallon pumper and one rescue from Morris Twp.

    That is quite old, so the actual units dispatched might not match 100%


    It might have nothing to do with the NTSB.

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  6. Well one thing is for certain: a week ago Monday on March 28, 2022 the last Learjet rolled off the assembly line at Bombardier's plant in Wichita (a 70 model to a charter company). This one won't be going home to repairs in Kansas but hopefully the insurance company parting it out will help keep the 70/75 series flying for many years - and this was one of the older ones being registered way back in 2006.

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    1. Just to correct for the record, N877W s/n 45-496 wasn't a 2006 production aircraft. It's first registration to the to the manufacturer under their Dealer Certificate was 10/6/2014 and first registration to initial purchaser was on 12/15/2014.

      The first model 75 produced was s/n 45-456 and is currently registered as N157MW, with registration to the manufacturer under their Dealer Certificate on 11/8/2013. No model 75's were produced before 2013.

      See also the comment up-thread explaining why model 70 and 75's show up as 45's in the registrations:

      http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2022/04/learjet-75-n877w-accident-occurred.html?showComment=1649251610941#c1748454479881979867

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    2. That final Lear shown at the production ending ceremony is N2022L, s/n 45-609 which makes it a Model 75 as noted in the news article below and according to the serial number allocation block of S/N 45-456 through 2000 for Model 75 as listed in the MMEL.

      Bombardier is keeping the parts support element of the Lear production going, so salvaging parts won't be necessary until support ends at a future date.

      Article:
      https://aviationweek.com/business-aviation/aircraft-propulsion/gallery-bombardier-delivers-final-learjet

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    3. and the why? "Bombardier has announced it plans to cease production of its Learjet 75 Liberty at the end of 2021 to concentrate on its more profitable Challenger and Global brands and cut global employment as it works to reduce $400 million in costs each year." from aviationweek Feb 11, 2021"

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  7. Preliminary report is out

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    1. Skid marks on the pavement 560 feet in length before exiting to the right and then left wingtip strike/rapid disassembly.

      No antilock brake system on the Lear?

      AIN 2013 Pilot report mentioned:
      "The jet’s brake-by-wire carbon brakes are highly effective, and it takes a light touch to keep from jerking the airplane to a halt."

      https://www.ainonline.com/sites/default/files/pdf/ain_2013_november_pilot_report.pdf

      Preliminary report:
      https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/api/Aviation/ReportMain/GenerateNewestReport/104874/pdf

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    2. The old ones have anti skid that works OK. Makes funny noises that sound like you're stepping on mice or kittens. I don't know how the 45/75 are, but they surely do have it.

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