Accident Learjet 24 N454RN,
ASN logo

Date:Monday 26 February 1973
Type:Silhouette image of generic LJ24 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Learjet 24
Owner/operator:Machinery Buyers Corp
Registration: N454RN
MSN: 24-121
Year of manufacture:1966
Total airframe hrs:4041 hours
Engine model:General Electric CJ610-4
Fatalities:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:3,2 km SSW of Atlanta-DeKalb Peachtree Airport, GA (PDK) -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Atlanta-DeKalb Peachtree Airport, GA (PDK/KPDK)
Destination airport:Miami (unknown airport), FL
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A Gates Learjet 24, N454RN, operated as a corporate flight by Machinery Buyers Corp., crashed following takeoff from runway 20L at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, Atlanta, Georgia. The aircraft was destroyed by impact and fire.
The two crewmembers and five passengers were fatally injured and one person on the ground sustained serious burns. An apartment building was damaged, three parked vehicles were destroyed, and another vehicle was damaged by impact and fire.
The pilot had filed an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight plan from Atlanta, Georgia, to Miami, Florida, with a proposed departure time of 09:50 and an en route altitude of Flight Level 410.
The flight was cleared for takeoff from runway 20L at 10:10.
The weather at the time of the accident was overcast, with ceiling 500 feet, visibility 4 miles in fog and smoke, wind 060° at 4 knots, altimeter setting 30.20 inches.
Ground witnesses stated that the airplane had made a normal take-off, but was trailing blue-white or blue-gray smoke when it crossed the airport boundary. The following conversation with the flight was recorded by the airport control tower:
TOWER - "Lear 454RN it appeared the left engine laid a pretty good layer of smoke out of the left side there for approximately 300 or 400 feet."
454W - "We just hit some birds."
MWER - "Roger, you turning to land?"
454W - "Don't believe we're gonna make it." (Last transmission by the crew. )
The aircraft climbed to a height about 250 to 300 feet above the ground before it started to settle in a nose-high attitude.
The airplane collided initially with the roof of a three-story apartment building, approximately 2 miles south-southwest of the airport. The wreckage came to rest in a wooded ravine adjacent to a busy highway, 165 feet southwest of the damaged building. The airplane's takeoff path was over a residential area which contained numerous apartment complexes, shopping centers, and busy thoroughfares. A suitable emergency landing site was not available.
The airplane's windshield and center post contained bird residue and bird feathers. After the accident, the remains of 15 cowbirds were found within 150 feet of the departure end of runway 20L.
Both engines showed distortion and foreign object damage to the compressor rotor assemblies. Foreign material obstructed approximately 75 percent of the cooling air ports of the first-stage turbine nozzles.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The loss of engine thrust during takeoff due to ingestion of birds by the engines, resulting in loss of control of the airplane. The Federal Aviation Administration and the Airport Authority were aware of the bird hazard at the airport; however, contrary to previous commitments, the airport management did not take positive action to remove the bird hazard from the airport environment."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: MIA73AM087
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 4 months
Download report: Final report




photo (c) Peter de Groot; Amsterdam-Schiphol International Airport (AMS/EHAM); 1971

Revision history:


The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2024 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av, 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314