N102PT Citation CJ1 declares emergency, crashes Maine.....

Flightaware flight track.

Associated Press - February 1, 2008 9:55 PM ET

WEST GARDINER, Maine (AP) - At least two people were killed this evening when a small jet crashed into the woods in a rural area of West Gardiner shortly after taking off from the Augusta State Airport.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters says the pilot of the six-seat Cessna Citation C-525 declared an emergency minutes after taking off but was unable to fly to safety.

He says the plane was registered to Jeanette Symons of San Francisco, but the identities of the victims were not confirmed tonight.

Peters says the plane took off at 5:45 p.m. bound for Lincoln, Nebraska.

A few minutes later, the pilot told an air traffic controller there were problems with the indicator that tells how level the plane is. The controller then saw the plane descend rapidly on a radar screen.

Inspectors from the National Transportation Safety Board and the local FAA office were expected at the crash site on Saturday.

‘The plane, bound for Lincoln, Neb., was in contact with a controller at the Portland, Maine, jetport when the pilot declared an emergency about 5 minutes after taking off, at an altitude of 3,000 feet, ascending to 10,000 feet. The controller asked if the pilot needed help returning to Augusta, but the plane then began a rapid descent and radar contact and radio communications were lost, Peters said.’

Saturday, February 2, 2008
Jeannette Symons, believed to be in her mid 40s, is founder and chief executive officer of Industrious Kid, a social networking Web site for children between the ages of 8 and 13. The company is headquartered in Oakland, Calif.

Symons is also the creator of the Web site imbee.com, which she created to help children network with friends online while avoiding some of the dangers of the Internet. The Disney Co. is an investor in that business.

In 2001, Symons was listed as one of the wealthiest people in the country under the age of 40. At the time, she was 39 years old.

In 1989 she sold Ascend Communications, which she co-founded, to Lucent Technologies for $24 billion.

After that, she was a founder of Zhone Technologies, which focuses on infrastructure used in the so-called last mile with an eye toward creating products for all types of voice, data and video traffic.

Before founding Ascend, Symons was a software engineer at Hayes Microcomputer, a leading modem manufacturer, where she developed and managed its ISDN program.

She received a bachelor of science degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and a degree in systems engineering from the same university, according to several online sites.

She has two children, according to zoominfo.com.

seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs … S01&sfad=1

Urggh…Single pilot, night, bad IMC, in a jet, on a Part 91 flt with your innocent 10 year old son on board. What could possibly go wrong!

Very sad.

FAA Preliminary Report

ASN Air Saftey Network Info on every C525 crash/major incident to date.

Looks like a typo on the precip type in the METAR in the above report. X and Z are close to each other…

For those wondering what precip types are entered into METARS, check out:



pressherald.mainetoday.com/story … 2&ac=PHnws
"Feb 2, 2008 6:16 PM
I left the Augusta airport area just about the same time as the plane.

Having driven the equivalent of 25 times around Earth, i have never experienced the difficulty in deicing my car windshield in the type of ice/sleet precipitation that was coming down in the Augusta area at the time.

My winter formula windshield washer would deice my windshield completely…within 5 minutes the windshield had a new sheet of blinding ice on it. Deiced again with windshield washer, 5minutes later another sheet of blinding ice covered the windshield. Deiced again,recoat again. About the 7th time i was out of fluid but heading southbound."

From what I have read, the pilot had 20 years of flying experience, and quotes considered her a very skilled pilot. Another stated, the family used the Citation like most people use their car.

The takeoff seemed to be uneventful, and if anything, she was in contact with the ground stating her difficulty with her equipment.

The crash sounds similar to the Aero Peru B757 that had the static ports covered by clear tape. In the case of the Citation, it was freezing rain at the time, 9 miles out, and 3000 feet up.

Air Safety report on Aero Peru

They almost always say this, right?

Perhaps someone smarter than I can explain why they wouldn’t climb out and get through the slop and/or icing conditions. 3,000’ @ 9 miles in a Citation? Even in a Slowtation 525.

We’ll see when the report comes out but no doubt this is pilot error of some variety. Based on the reports and rumors on this one… be prepared for more of the same as PJ, VLJ and Mustangs find their way in to non-professional hands. I don’t want to suggest this pilot was not professional but there’s a big difference between using your jet like a station wagon and being paid to operate a plane with another paid pilot and following very set standards and minimums.

N102PT recorded 22 flights in 33 hours per flightaware.com/live/flight/N102PT/history
since mid Oct 07; primarily between the west coast and Steamboat Springs (KSBS).

Based on gretnabear’s ground report, sounds like big time severe icing conditons were encountered?

Check out the FAA AC91 advisory at
rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guida … 91-51A.pdf

I have a feeling, no first hand knowledge naturally the pilot did not recognize the severity of the icing situation and did not take the actions as indicted in Table 2 which is immediate heading or altitude change.

Probably with all the ice accumulating on the control surfaces, climb was anemic at best if the deicing / antiicing equipment failed to reduce or control the hazard and by the time she realized the situtation, she probably was behind the airplane.

All conjecture on my part! :smiley:


My take from what I have read, N102PT had been cleared to 10000 feet, while acending lost the attitude indicator.

My first thoughts were icing or engine flameouts, but slowtation do very well in icing. The fact that the Attitude Indicator, at night, rain, clouds, to me, Spatial Disoreintation.

The stress level of sitting with your 8 year old under those circumstances are horrifying to even think about.

I’ll assume it didn’t take long to reach 3000 feet. Aircraft levelled around 3000 feet and was in contact with ATC explaining the situation. My understanding N102PT was unable to turn around, to return to the airport. ATC reported a rapid decent to the ground.

Aircraft burned for some time. Remains of aircraft were loaded on to a truck and removed.

I guess a year or two from now, we may actually have some facts, and possibly know the cause/effect of this very sad accident.

2001 CJ1 Panel…

Nice pic there wazz… Reminds me of a CJ2 with the same panel that I flew for several years. Although the accident aircraft could’ve had a 2nd PFD in lieu of the independent instruments.

There has been a report from a line tech (who is a CFII/MEI) which would be considered a credible witness, that Ms. Symons did not request that the aircraft be deiced prior to departure. And that while taxiing to the runway she departed a taxiway continuing through a grassy area to once again return to a taxiway. She didn’t deice and she taxied the airplane off of the designated surface…two strikes against her and she hasn’t even left the ground yet.

My opinion is the loss of control from airframe icing, spatial disorientation and stress. A contributing factor may be that the Pitot/Static Heat system was not turned on (which is a final line up checklist item) causing errant airspeed and altitude information, which if the A/P was activated on initial climb would create a loss of control situation, and if not recognized immediately would’ve resulted in the same if hand flying. I highly doubt that she experienced an attitude (AHRS-Atitude Heading Reference System) failure. The airplane has a LH and RH AHRS coupled to their respective attitude and heading displays that are independent of each other. When there is some sort of anomoly there are all kinds of different yellow and red annunciations that start flashing in your face. These AHRS units are quartz inertial gyros that work good and last a long time… Then there is a third gyro attitude instrument that is a stand-by system in the unlikely event of the loss of the two primary AHRS displays. It is electrically powered by its own source. Bottom line is that these things rarely fail at the same time and there’s lots of redundancy. And if something did fail she should’ve recognized it prior to the takeoff roll.

Regardless of the investigation outcome…a very sad loss indeed.

So I didn’t know how to ask the question… but you just answered it AZ… The three attitude indicators are independant and not likely to suffer a collective failure.

Is it possible she Damaged them somehow when she slid off the Taxiway??

Perhaps she did Damage the plane and just didn’t know it??..

Just throwing something out there…

Possible, yes, but less likely in my opinion (subject to being wrong). From the reports of heavy icing in the area I would be leaning towards some sort of airframe/control surface icing and possibly pitot/static errors. (I’ve flown a CJ2, but it was a while ago, but in the Pilatus and the Piaggio if the pitot/static heat is not on there’s a cautionary light illuminated. Perhaps the ice built up to a level around the static port that interfered with correct indications, without being completely iced over.) The CJ1 has bleed air heated main wings and engine intakes, but the tail is boots only.

Unfortunately, this story seems to hold the answer:

WEST GARDINER Federal investigators continued working Monday to determine why a seasoned pilot lost control of her jet and crashed soon after taking off from Augusta.

Jeanette Symons, 45, a prominent tech-industry entrepreneur from Steamboat Springs, Colo., and her 10-year-old son, Balan, died Friday when the six-seat Cessna Citation went down in the woods of West Gardiner just after 6 p.m.

Authorities have declined to confirm the victims’ identities. But a spokeswoman for Symons’ California company, Industrious Kid, a startup social networking Web site for children, confirmed during the weekend that her employer and the boy had been killed in the accident.

As a mix of snow, ice and rain fell Friday, Symons took off from the Augusta State Airport. Soon after, air-traffic control in Portland reported receiving a call from her, saying she had an emergency involving one of the three “attitude indicators” on the plane.

Ivan Grau of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida said an attitude indicator is a “primary instrument” telling a pilot whether the plane is level relative to the horizon. But he said pilots are trained to fly without them.

While the airport was open Friday evening, Colgan Air Inc., a commercial airline that operates US Airways Express flights into and out of Augusta, grounded its planes after 4:30 p.m., citing the weather. On Monday, aviation experts said it was up to Symons, not airport officials, to decide whether it was safe to take off.

“It will always be the pilot’s decision” as long as an airport is open, said Phil Boyer, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. “Airport managers do not have the same training as a pilot does to make that call.”

No matter the weather, a pilot must run through a safety checklist before takeoff, Boyer said. Some things, such as checking the wings for ice, are universal, he said. “Planes with contaminated wings usually don’t leave the runway.”

Symons’ aircraft sat outdoors before the accident. Bill Perry of Maine Instrument Flight at the Augusta airport said Symons called and asked for her jet to be moved into a hangar Friday morning. The plane was moved into a hangar that is contracted to Colgan Air.

“We made it quite clear to her that when (Colgan’s plane) would go in, her plane would have to come out,” Perry said. When the company grounded its flights Friday afternoon, Symons’ jet was taken out of the hangar.

Maine Instrument Flight Chief Pilot David Smith said he saw Symons and Balan before they took off at 5:30 p.m. Friday. She appeared to be in a hurry, he said, and declined to have her plane de-iced by the staff. “It was clear there was ice on everything” at the time, Perry said.

She also neglected to turn on the airport’s field lights – standard procedure for a pilot taking off from an airport without an air-traffic control tower, such as Augusta. Pilots can switch the lights on through a radio frequency, Perry said.

Before finding the runway, which had not been plowed, Symons ran the plane through a ditch in a field on airport property, Perry said.

Tim Donovan, vice president of marketing of Industrious Kid, said Symons had been flying for 15 to 20 years and “probably logged more hours than a commercial pilot.”

We could probably speculate until were are blue-faced on why the this airplane (and umpteen others for that matter) crashed and the facts will come out in time, but what continues to baffle me in these tragedies is…

Why did she leave the *(%$ING HOTEL?!?

  1. You can afford to stay another week in a 5-star hotel.
  2. You can afford a stretch Hummer limo to get you back to the hotel in the blinding ice storm.
  3. Your a technology mogul so you have wireless video conferencing capabilities up the wazzu (sorry Wazzu) for that meeting you don’t want to miss.
  4. Your son goes to a private school which probably has an internet based curriculum anyway so he won’t miss anything.
  5. Nobody is paying you to do this!

Shall I go on…

CJ1, King Air, Saratoga, C172…the song remains the same, put your ego in your pocket. If not for you, at least for your innocent PAX.

Bad decision.

To be continued on the next robbreid posting. Keep em’ coming, take these for the educational value that they are.

I agree…I Would’ve stopped as soon as I was told that Colgan had grounded all it’s Flights…

Invincibility complex?