ASN logo
Last updated: 26 March 2019
Date:Monday 18 January 2016
Type:Silhouette image of generic C525 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 525 CitationJet
Operator:Donald L. Baker
Registration: N711BX
C/n / msn: 525-0299
First flight: 1999
Total airframe hrs:2304
Engines: 2 Williams International FJ44-1A
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:1,9 km (1.2 mls) SW of Cedar Fort, UT (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Salt Lake City International Airport, UT (SLC/KSLC), United States of America
Destination airport:Tucson International Airport, AZ (TUS/KTUS), United States of America
A Cessna 525 CitationJet CJ1 was destroyed following a loss of control, an airframe in-flight breakup and impact with a snow covered field near Cedar Fort, Utah. Both occupants died in the accident.
Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the personal cross-country flight from Salt Lake City International Airport, Utah, about 09:50, with an intended destination of Tucson International Airport, Arizona.
The pilot contacted the SLC departure controller at 0951:59 and reported that he was climbing through 7,500 ft mean sea level (msl) for 10,000 ft. The controller then cleared the pilot to climb to and maintain Flight Level 230 (FL230), and to delete speed restrictions; the pilot confirmed the clearance. At 0952:21, the controller instructed the pilot to maintain 14,000 ft, to delete all speed restrictions, and asked him what speed he was climbing at; the pilot confirmed the clearance and stated that he was climbing at 200 knots (kts).

At 0955:01, while approaching 14,000 ft the pilot reported that he had a failure with his Flight Management System (FMS), that he was "switching to NAV for a second," and would be exceeding the assigned altitude. This was followed by an unintelligible transmission. At 0955:16, the controller instructed the pilot to descend and maintain 14,000 ft and to fly his present heading. About 10 seconds later, the pilot advised the controller that he had an autopilot failure, and requested a climb to visual meteorological conditions. The controller instructed the pilot to climb and maintain FL180. At 0955:47, the pilot responded by confirming the climb to FL180. The controller then asked the pilot if he needed assistance. The pilot did not immediately respond, and the controller asked him a second time. At 0956:16, the pilot responded "negative," saying that he was "just trying to get to clear skies," and was climbing to FL180. The pilot stated that his "number 2" was working, and that his "altitude" had failed. The pilot concluded the transmission by saying, ", uh, my number two is working, climbing to one eight thousand."

At 0956:32, the controller advised the pilot that traffic would be crossing above him at FL190, and that it was important that he level the airplane at FL180; the pilot replied, "We'll be watching." At 0956:45, the controller advised the pilot of two areas of light precipitation directly ahead of the airplane, and asked the pilot if he would need vectors to clear the weather. At 0956:59, the pilot responded that he would appreciate any vectors possible. Shortly thereafter, at 0957:06, the controller asked the pilot to "...paint a picture for me of where you think the clearest skies would be. I can vector you wherever you need to go." At 0957:12, the pilot replied that he was heading to TUS, his altitude would not hold, and that he was hand flying the airplane. About this time, radar showed the airplane beginning a right turn from its previously-established southerly heading to a southwesterly heading, though the airplane had neither been cleared to do so by the controller nor had the pilot informed the controller of the deviation. About 0957:20, the pilot transmitted that he would appreciate any vectors possible. About 15 seconds later, the controller advised the pilot that he was showing him at 17,500 ft, directed the pilot to fly his present heading, and stated that the airplane would be clear of the precipitation in about 4 miles. About 17 seconds later, the pilot transmitted, "...ok, MAYDAY. I do need to get up higher. I am losing different instruments. I'd really like to get clear of weather." At 0958:01, the controller issued the pilot a clearance to climb and maintain FL230, which the pilot confirmed. About 0958:26, the controller amended the previous clearance and instructed the pilot to climb to and maintain FL310, which the pilot initially confirmed, but shortly thereafter stated, "...yeah. I can't even dial that in. Still climbing, passing twenty thousand, so I'm just going to be reading it out to be sure my second is operating correctly."

At 0958:46, the controller stated that he was showing the airplane climbing through 20,200 ft, and asked the pilot if he wanted to continue to TUS; the pilot replied, "That is affirmative." At 0958:53, when the airplane was at 20,700 ft, the controller issued the pilot a no-gyro turn to the left for vectors to the southeast; this occurred about 1 minute 41 seconds after the airplane had turned southwest. Radar data showed that the pilot initiated a right turn from a southwesterly heading at an altitude of 20,700 ft. At 0959:12, the airplane reached an altitude of 21,300 ft. msl, and was still in the right turn. At 0959:13, the controller stated, "November one bravo x-ray. I show you in a right turn. Can you turn left?" At 0959:17, while climbing out of 21,300 ft, the pilot replied that he was "trying to climb."

About 0959:47, the controller advised the pilot that he had lost the airplane's altitude readout, and asked the pilot the airplane's altitude. There were no further transmissions received from the pilot. Between 0959:49 and 0959:58, the airplane descended from an altitude of 21,300 ft to 16,000 ft, with its rate of descent during this time increasing from 9,600 ft per minute (fpm) to 36,000 fpm.
The airplane's wreckage was located in open, flat pasture ground, about 1 nautical mile southwest of Cedar Fort, Utah, and about 28 nm south-southwest of SLC. A survey of the accident site revealed that the linear debris path of wreckage extended for about 1 nm on a west to east orientation.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause: "The pilot's loss of control due to spatial disorientation while operating in instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in an exceedance of the airplane's design stress limitations, and a subsequent in-flight breakup. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's reported inflight instrumentation anomaly, the origin of which could not be determined during
the investigation."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 11 months
Accident number: WPR16FA054
Download report: Final report


Loss of situational awareness

Loss of control

» FOX 13
» LiveATC

METAR Weather report:
09:53 UTC / 16:53 local time:
KSLC 181653Z 13004KT 10SM -RA FEW030 BKN046 OVC060 03/01 A3009 RMK AO2 RAE01B51 SLP191 P0000 T00330006

10:53 UTC / 17:53 local time:
KSLC 181753Z 17005KT 10SM FEW030 BKN044 OVC065 04/01 A3008 RMK AO2 RAE44 SLP186 P0000 60006 T00440011 10044 20022 50002


photo of Cessna 525 CitationJet N711BX
view of accident site looking north
photo of Cessna 525 CitationJet N711BX
view of accident site looking east
photo of Cessna 525 CitationJet N711BX
view of accident site looking south
photo of Cessna 525 CitationJet N711BX
view of accident site looking west
photo of Cessna 525 CitationJet N711BX
view of empennage
photo of Cessna 525 CitationJet N711BX
photo of Cessna 525 CitationJet N711BX
Altitude and calculated calibrated airspeed and groundspeed for flight
photo of Cessna 525 CitationJet N711BX
Altitude profile with cloud heights and selected ATC comments.
Add your photo of this accident or aircraft

Video, social media

ATC audio of the Salt Lake City Departure frequency from about 09:52 - 10:00 hours local time

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 Salt Lake City International Airport, UT to Tucson International Airport, AZ as the crow flies is 962 km (601 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.
languages: languages