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Last updated: 22 February 2020
Status:Final
Date:Friday 19 January 1979
Time:19:34
Type:Silhouette image of generic LJ25 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Learjet 25D
Operator:Massey-Ferguson
Registration: N137GL
C/n / msn: 25-237
First flight: 1978
Total airframe hrs:299
Engines: 2 General Electric CJ610-8A
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Total:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW) (   United States of America)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Executive
Departure airport:South Bend Regional, IN (SBN/KSBN), United States of America
Destination airport:Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW/KDTW), United States of America
Narrative:
The Learjet 25D rolled violently, lost control and crashed while on approach to runway 09 at Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI (DTW). Loss of control was caused by icing and/or preceding DC-9 wake vortex and/or a delayed application of engine thrust during an attempted go-around.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's loss of control. The loss of control may have been caused by wake turbulence of a departing aircraft, by a premature stall caused by an accumulation of wing ice, by a delayed application of engine thrust during an attempted go-around, or by any combination of these factors."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 3 months
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-80-04
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Weather: Wake vortex encounter
Loss of control

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Map
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 South Bend Regional, IN to Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, MI as the crow flies is 250 km (156 miles).

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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Learjet 25

  • 373 built
  • 16th loss
  • 11th fatal accident
  • 4th worst accident (at the time)
  • 9th worst accident (currently)
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