Narrative:A Learjet 45, N279AJ, sustained substantial damage when attempting to land during a snowstorm at Telluride Regional Airport, CO (TEX). The positioning flight was conducted using instrument flight rules and had departed Scottsdale Airport, AZ (SDL) at 15:03 MST. The pilot occupying the left seat was not injured and the pilot occupying the right seat received minor injuries.
In a statement to the NTSB provided by the Pilot-In-Command, upon arrival to TEX the weather was reported to be below minimums; the crew elected to hold over the Cones VOR and wait to see if weather conditions would improve. The crew was given instructions, by air traffic control, to hold as published and to expect further clearance (EFC) at 16:30. When the weather improved to a visibility of 4 miles and a ceiling of 2300 feet, the PIC requested a descent and approach to KTEX. At approximately 4 miles from the airport, the pilot acquired the airport environment but was not in position to land, so he called for a missed approach back to Cones VOR. The pilot then requested a second attempt to land stating that "if we did not land, we would like to be sequenced to into KMTJ" Montrose Regional Airport Montrose, CO, their alternate airport. On the second approach, both crew members stated that they had acquired the runway environment; however, they were still too high for a visual approach. The crew elected to do a 360-degree, right, descending turn, in order to get in a better position for landing. On completion of the turn, they again affirmed the runway environment and that they were aligned with the extended centerline of the runway. The airplane touched down and after full thrust reversers were deployed, the nose gear collapsed. The airplane began to slide in snow and came to a stop about mid-field, in an upright position.
An initial FAA examination of the area indicated that the airplane had touched down about 20-feet to the right, of the runway. Additionally, the airplane's wings were torn from the fuselage and the tail section had separated just aft of the engines, during the contact with the ground.
Weather reported at KTEX 10 minutes prior to the accident was winds 260 degrees at 8 knots, visibility of 3 miles, scattered clouds at 400 feet, broken clouds at 2300 feet, temperature of 6 degrees Celsius, dew point of 6 degrees Celsius, and altimeter setting 29.85 inches of mercury.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of both pilots to positively identify the runway prior to landing."
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