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Last updated: 25 November 2020
Status:Final
Date:Monday 14 August 2000
Time:18:22
Type:Silhouette image of generic SBR1 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Rockwell Sabreliner 75A
Operator:Colonels Inc.
Registration: N85DW
C/n / msn: 380-27
First flight: 1975
Total airframe hrs:7185
Engines: 2 General Electric CF700
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 4
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:5,6 km (3.5 mls) NE of Ironwood-Gogebic County Airport, MI (IWD) (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Executive
Departure airport:Brainerd-Crow Wing County Airport, MN (BRD/KBRD), United States of America
Destination airport:Flint-Bishop Airport, MI (FNT/KFNT), United States of America
Narrative:
A Rockwell Sabreliner 75A, N85DW, was destroyed during a forced landing when it crashed in a densely wooded area northeast of the Ironwood-Gogebic Iron-County Airport (IWD), Michigan. The flight had departed the Brainerd-Crow Wing County Airport (BRD) at 17:47 en route to the Flint/Bishop Airport (FNT), Michigan, on an IFR flight plan.
The pilot received a weather brief that included information concerning a Convective Sigmet and a Severe Weather Watch. The weather briefer informed the pilot that a route to the southeast would keep the flight out of the heavy weather, and that, "... you'll get clobbered if you go due east." After departure, the pilot requested a turn to the northeast to stay clear of weather. While in the climb, the flight was advised of a Weather Watch that covered the area of their flight. The CVR revealed that Continuous Ignition was not selected prior to encountering turbulence.
About 23 minutes after takeoff, the airplane was climbing at about 30,800 feet msl when the pilot radioed a "MAYDAY" distress call, reporting a dual engine failure due to a lightning strike. The CVR indicated one engine quit and the second quit about two seconds later. The copilot established a 170 kts descent airspeed for "best glide."
The airplane was vectored near a level 5 thunderstorm during the emergency descent towards Ironwood. Two air starts were attempted when the airplane's altitude was outside of the air start envelope. Two more air starts were attempted within the air start envelope but were unsuccessful. The minimum airspeed for an air restart is 160 kts and the maximum speed for air start is 358 kts. The CVR indicated that the pilots did not call for the airplane's checklist, and no challenge and response checklists were used during the emergency descent. The CVR indicated the pilots did not discuss load shedding any of the electrical components on the airplane. The CVR indicated the hydraulic system cycled twice during the emergency descent and the landing gear was lowered using the hydraulic system during descent.
The airplane was approximately 17,500 feet msl and 12 nm west of IWD when the pilot reported the airplane lost its navigation capability. The airplane continued its descent toward IWD. The airplane impacted the terrain on an approximate heading of 210 degrees. The pilot and copilot received fatal injuries and the two passengers were seriously injured.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's improper in-flight decision, the pilot's continued flight into known adverse weather, the pilot's failure to turn on the continuous ignition in turbulence, and the pilot's failure to follow the procedures for an airstart. Factors included the thunderstorms, the lightning strike, and the woods."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 1 months
Accident number: CHI00MA256
Download report: Summary report

Classification:
Lightningstrike
All engine powerloss
Emergency landing

Sources:
» NTSB


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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 Brainerd-Crow Wing County Airport, MN to Flint-Bishop Airport, MI as the crow flies is 899 km (562 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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