ASN Aircraft accident Learjet 35A N135PT Groton, CT
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Monday 4 August 2003
Type:Silhouette image of generic LJ35 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Learjet 35A
Operator:Air East Management
Registration: N135PT
MSN: 35A-509
First flight: 1984
Total airframe hrs:9287
Engines: 2 Garrett TFE731-2-2B
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Groton, CT (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Departure airport:Farmingdale-Republic Field, NY (FRG/KFRG), United States of America
Destination airport:Groton-New London Airport, CT (GON/KGON), United States of America
The flight departed Republic Airport about 06:10. About 5 miles west of Groton, the flightcrew advised the Providence Approach controller that they had made visual contact with the airport, and requested to cancel their IFR clearance. The controller acknowledged the request and terminated the clearance. The airplane entered the left downwind for runway 23 at Groton, at an altitude of 1,800 feet, and continued to descend. About 2.3 miles northeast of the runway, the airplane made a left turn onto base leg. About 1.5 miles from the runway, and south of the extended runway centerline, the airplane turned left, and back toward the right. When the airplane was about 1/8-mile south of the runway threshold, an approximate 60-degree right turn was made back toward the runway. The airplane crossed the runway at an altitude of 200 feet, and began a left turn towards the center of the airport. The turn continued, and the airplane re-entered a left downwind for the runway, about 1,100 feet south of the runway, at an altitude of 300 feet. According to eyewitnesses the airplane continued the left turn, increasing the bank angle to almost 90-degrees. As the airplane was turning final approach, it began to wobble from left to right, before contacting the rooftop of a single-story residential home about 1/4-mile northeast of the approach end of runway 23. The plane continued for about 800 feet through a small line of hardwood and evergreen trees, a second residential home, a second line of trees, a third residential home, down an embankment, and through a boardwalk, before coming to rest in the Poqonock River. The airplane was owned by JetPro and operated by Air East Management, according to NTSB and FAA data.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The first officer's inadvertent retraction of the flaps during the low altitude maneuvering, which resulted in the inadvertent stall and subsequent in-flight collision with a residential home. Factors in the accident were the captain's decision to perform a low altitude maneuver using excessive bank angle, the flight crews inadequate coordination, and low clouds surrounding the airport."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 years
Accident number: NYC03FA173
Download report: Summary report

Loss of control



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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Farmingdale-Republic Field, NY to Groton-New London Airport, CT as the crow flies is 132 km (82 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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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