ASN Aircraft accident Learjet 31 N311DF Les Eplatures Airport
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Wednesday 26 October 1988
Type:Silhouette image of generic LJ31 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Learjet 31
Operator:Gates Learjet
Registration: N311DF
MSN: 31-001
First flight: 1987-09-04 (1 year 2 months)
Total airframe hrs:448
Engines: 2 Garrett TFE731-2-2B
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:Les Eplatures Airport (   Switzerland)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Departure airport:Zürich-Kloten Airport (ZRH/LSZH), Switzerland
Destination airport:Les Eplatures Airfield (LSGC), Switzerland
The Learjet 31 prototype operated on a demonstration flight for a prospective buyer. The aircraft landed hard at Les Eplatures Airport about 50 m past the threshold of runway 24 following a high sink rate.

Probable Cause:

Probable causes:
The accident was caused by an abnormally high rate of descent arising from the combination of an extreme nose-up attitude of the aircraft and the reduction in engine power just before making contact with the runway.

Factors contributing to the accident:
1) The plane was piloted by unqualified pilot on this aircraft type and having only a minor experience on jet aircraft.
2) The available runway length was at the limit of the aircraft's performance.
3) The steep slope of the approach that is 4 °, due to obstacles.
4) The terrain configuration on the approach and the rising slope of the runway.
5) The concern of the flight instructor on the difficult approach, which lay outside the usual operating conditions.
6) Lack of coordination between crew members in the phase preceding the accident.

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: BFU Switzerlnd
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 8 months
Accident number: Nr. 1397
Download report: Final report

Flightcrew un(der)qualified
Heavy landing
Runway mishap


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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 Zürich-Kloten Airport to Les Eplatures Airfield as the crow flies is 138 km (86 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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