ASN Aircraft accident Cessna 501 Citation I/SP N452TS Trier-Föhren Airport
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Sunday 12 January 2014
Type:Silhouette image of generic C501 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 501 Citation I/SP
Operator:Theo Steil GmbH
Registration: N452TS
MSN: 501-0231
First flight: 1981
Total airframe hrs:4282
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-1A
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Total:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:4 km (2.5 mls) NE of Trier-Föhren Airport (   Germany)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Departure airport:Shoreham Airport (ESH/EGKA), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Trier-Föhren Airport (EDRT), Germany
A Cessna Citation I/SP corporate jet, registered N452TS, crashed while on approach to Trier-Föhren Airport in Germany. All four on board were killed.
Before departure from Shoreham Airport, U.K, the pilot had called the destination airport, Trier-Föhren. He was told it would be better to postpone the departure because of thick fog. The departure was not postponed and the Citation jet took off from Shoreham about 10:00 hours. Alternate airfields were Luxembourg and Frankfurt-Hahn. Given the weather conditions the owner of the aircraft expected a diversion, and according to family members did not but pressure on the pilots to land at Trier.
The en route and descent part of the flight were uneventful. At 11:45, while descending from FL90 to 5000 feet, the pilot in command contacted air traffic control to cancel their IFR clearance. The controller confirmed this and reported that they were 15 miles northwest of their destination airfield.
The airplane was approaching runway 22 and descended until it was flying at a very low altitude, clearing trees by some 15-20 meters, according to eyewitnesses. It pulled up and struck an electricity pylon at a height of about 8 m above the ground. Control was lost and the airplane rolled inverted and crashed. It came to rest inverted on the site of a landfill, located 3,8 km from the threshold of runway 22 and about 700 m to the left of the extended centreline. A fire erupted.

The continued descent to the ground likely occurred due to an erroneous selection of the target altitude with 0 ft (sea level) instead of the real aerodrome elevation (666 ft AMSL). Good Crew Resource Management could have brought this error to light but the different personality traits of the two pilots and particularly the captain’s low appreciation of the co-pilot probably negatively
influenced the working relationship in regards to CRM principles.

Weather at Trier about the time of the accident was a visibility of 100-150 m in fog, wind 040° at 3-5 knots, temperature -1°C, QNH 1020 hPa.

Probable Cause:

The accident was due to the following:
- The Pilot in Command (PIC) decided to conduct the VFR approach even though he was aware of the prevailing instrument weather conditions at the airport
- It is likely that a wrong vertical profile was flown due to an erroneous selection on the navigation system
- Due to an insufficient situational awareness of the pilots the descent was not aborted in time.
The following factors contributed to the accident:
- Insufficient Crew Resource Management (CRM)

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: BFU Germany
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 9 months
Accident number: BFU CX001-14
Download report: Final report


VFR flight in IMC
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground


photo of Cessna-501-Citation-I-SP-N452TS
accident date: 12-01-2014
type: Cessna 501 Citation I/SP
registration: N452TS
photo of Cessna-501-Citation-I-SP-N452TS
accident date: 12-01-2014
type: Cessna 501 Citation I/SP
registration: N452TS
photo of Cessna-501-Citation-I-SP-N452TS
accident date: 12-01-2014
type: Cessna 501 Citation I/SP
registration: N452TS

Video, social media

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 Shoreham Airport to Trier-Föhren Airport as the crow flies is 510 km (319 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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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