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It is what it is.




NTSB Identification: DCA05MA031.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 02, 2005 in Teterboro, NJ
Aircraft: Bombardier CL-600-1A11, registration: N370V
Injuries: 4 Serious, 2 Minor, 7 Uninjured.

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.


I have a long standing rule. I do my best not to second guess, or judge a pilot in command when an incident, or accident occurs. Now that the 24 hour news networks pick up on aviation incidents with greater frequency, speculation runs rampant for the first several hours after the accident happens. Think about it. The NTSB takes around a year or longer to produce a theory or factual statement of what caused an incident. The talking heads at your local cable station know the answers in the time it takes them to get a live link-up. I do not suggest that speculation be avoided in conversation. After all, I cant imagine going to my local airport and not having a conversation about an incident that made news, or even one that didnt. As pilots, its a part of the learning process. The difference is that people outside of aviation dont often hear of the actual findings of a qualified review board (NTSB in the case of the US). Its the often flawed initial media reporting that they recall. Those interested enough will, and do search out the answers for themselves. And most times, the NTSB leaves little to speculate about...

An accident at Teterboro last year was one I watched with interest. A Challenger 600 crew overran the runway as they attempted to depart. The aircraft hit a fence, crossed Route 46, struck vehicles, and ended up with half the aircraft inside of a building. The crew were injured, but escaped despite a fire after the aircraft struck the building.

The NTSB has released a few facts of the incident, pending the final report. What I read left me scratching my head.

The entire article is at AIN here. I've posted the meat of it below.

Although the NTSB has not yet determined a probable cause for the February 2 Challenger 600 accident at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, it has released a number of factual reports. Apparently, the Platinum Jet Management crew failed to perform weight-and-balance calculations properly and delayed its use of the thrust reversers when the jet failed to take off.

The crew had arrived at Teterboro at 11 p.m. the previous night, after taking an airline flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to La Guardia and a taxi ride to the New Jersey airport. On takeoff around 7 a.m. the next morning, the pilot felt normal acceleration, but when the first officer called rotation speed, the captain could move the control column only about one inch aft. The TEB controller noted that the nosewheel did not lift off the runway. As the aircraft was accelerating through 165 knots, the captain called for an abort.

The NTSB found the accident crew did not perform its pretakeoff weight-and-balance calculations properly and that the actual mtow and cg exceeded the limitations of the airplane flight manual. An onboard fuel computer was found programmed with an empty weight that was too low. The calculated maximum takeoff weight was 41,250 pounds, while the actual weight, after taxi, was 41,323 pounds, 73 pounds greater than the calculated mtow.

In addition, during a post-crash interview, investigators asked the captain to do a weight-and-balance; the cg he calculated exceeded the airplane’s forward cg limit.

The captain had been working for Platinum for less than two months at the time of the accident. He had previously worked for a number of operators and received mixed reviews. Jet Systems’ president told investigators that he “terminated the captain after three months for deficiencies in management and decision making.” Shenandoah Services cited the captain’s “poor judgment and decision-making processes on numerous occasions” as the reasons for his dismissal. Dynamic Aviation fired him for “deficiencies in aircraft knowledge, lack of adherence to various procedures, poor flying performance and interpersonal problems.”

On the other hand, Germany’s Templehof Airways praised him for “quick and skillful actions in handling an engine flameout.” Jet Solutions and Marion Pepsi Bottling commended him for “personal pride, sense of responsibility and practical thinking.”

The captain had an ATP certificate and stated he had 16,374 hours and 3,372 in Challenger 600/601s. He could not provide documentation to support his claims of time logged. The commercial-rated first officer had 5,962 hours, with 82.4 as second-in-command in 600/601s.

So, with all the able pilots out there looking for work, Darby chose to hire a pilot with a questionable record, no documentation of his flight hours, and unable to calculate a weight and balance for the aircraft he operates.

Im trying not to second guess.

Maybe it was because the operation Platinum was running wasnt exactly...legit??

Platinum Jet did not have a Part 135 certificate; it operated under the certificate of Darby Aviation of Muscle Shoals, Ala. The Challenger pilots were independent contractors, not employees of Platinum. At the time of the accident, Platinum operated three Challengers. It advertised its services as aircraft management, jet sales and charter.

The FAA principal operations inspector dealt with Darby, not Platinum, because the latter did not have a Part 135 certificate.

In March the FAA issued an emergency cease-and-desist order to Platinum, citing violations of the FARs. Platinum agreed not to operate charters as it did not have an air carrier certificate under Part 119 and did not have operations specifications to operate under Part 135. By the third week of March, Platinum Jet had ceased operations. It now faces nearly $2 million in penalties.

Now, im just a guy flying VFR in bug smashers. Im no expert on these matters, but I just dont understand why Darby, Platinum, and the pilot in question ended up in this situation. Why, with such a dense market of qualified pilots would a pilot with the flaws reported above be hired by Darby? Is it solely based on aquired hours? How could he be hired without documentation of his flight hours? without being able to do a weight and balance, a basic requirement for a single engine prop PPL?

It doesnt add up. I'd bee very interested in the comments and opinions of those who know more than I, as there are plenty.





Coins are my passion. I love to look at them and hold. I think about the history of the coin in hand. Who used it at one time? Where has it been? Did this Morgan dollar actually participate in a poker game in the old west? Did someone get shot for cheating? Its fascinating when you consider this type question. So much history in a litle piece of metal.

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