Accident Learjet 36A N56PA,
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Date:Wednesday 10 May 2023
Type:Silhouette image of generic LJ35 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Learjet 36A
Owner/operator:Phoenix Air
Registration: N56PA
MSN: 36-023
Year of manufacture:1976
Engine model:Garrett TFE731
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:1,7 km SW off San Clemente Island, CA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Port Hueneme-Point Mugu NAS, CA (NTD/KNTD)
Destination airport:Port Hueneme-Point Mugu NAS, CA (NTD/KNTD)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
A Phoenix Air Group Learjet 36A, N56PA, with callsign FENIX01, was destroyed when it crashed into the sea about a mile southwest off San Clemente Island, California. The three occupants were killed.

The airplane departed Point Mugu Naval Air Station (NTD) at 07:23 as the lead airplane in formation with a second Learjet airplane utilizing the callsigns FENIX01 (N56PA) and FENIX02 (N544PA). The flight proceeded south towards San Clemente Island with the FENIX02 flying in close formation with FENIX01. The purpose of the flight was to participate in training exercises with the United States Navy in Warning Area 291 (W291). There were three civilian crewmembers onboard each airplane.
Shortly after entering W291, at 15,000 ft mean sea level (MSL), the aircrew of FENIX02 observed the lead airplane’s flaps partially deploy. They notified the lead airplane, who acknowledged the radio call. The aircrew of FENIX02 then observed the flaps retract. Seconds later, the aircrew of FENIX01 radioed that they detected an odor in the cabin. The aircrew of FENIX02 then radioed that observed white or gray colored 'smoke or gas' coming from the 'left side AFT Cabin area.' Unidentified fluid was also observed trailing the airplane. At this point the lead airplane was not maintaining heading or altitude.
FENIX02 then observed flames coming from around the aft equipment door and told the aircrew of FENIX01 that they were on fire and to declare an emergency. The aircrew of FENIX01 declared an emergency and their intentions to land at San Clemente Island Naval Auxiliary Landing Field (NUC). FENIX02 then took over as lead for the formation flight and maneuvered in front of FENIX01 to lead them to the airfield. FENIX02 last observed and heard radio transmissions from FENIX01 as they descended through about 9,000 feet.
FENIX01 proceeded on about a 165° heading until about 30 miles south of NUC, where the airplane began a left turn. FENIX01 subsequently made a series of descending turns before it impacted the water one mile offshore from San Clemente Island in about 300 ft of water.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: WPR23FA185
Status: Preliminary report
Download report: Preliminary report



Revision history:


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