Notes Jet Ran Off Taxiway Twice Before Takeoff
Transportation Safety Board is out with its preliminary report on
the February 1 crash of a Cessna Citation near Augusta, ME... and
it paints a curious picture of the events prior to the
As ANN reported, the accident
claimed the lives of businesswoman Jeanette Symons, and her
10-year-old son, Balan. Symons was the founder and CEO of
Industrious Kid, and co-founder of social networking website
Maine's Kennebec Journal newspaper quotes NTSB investigators,
who say Symons appeared to be confused about her surroundings from
the time she started taxiing for takeoff from Augusta State
Airport, until her final radio call to controllers just before the
crash, at about 1745 Eastern time.
Investigators said Symons was given a standard briefing on
weather conditions at 1700. Reported weather at the time was light
snow turning to freezing rain, which witnesses said was starting to
accumulate on parked cars. Symons filed an IFR flight plan to
Lincoln, NE; FAA records confirm she was an instrument-rated
Witnesses told investigators they saw the jet run through a
ditch while taxiing, its left main tire becoming stuck in ice. The
engines were heard operating at "a high rate of power." Shortly
afterward, Symons taxied through ice and off the asphalt yet again,
then radioed her intention to depart from an incorrect runway.
NTSB reported an employee of Maine Instrument Flight turned on
the pilot-controlled taxi and runway lights when Symons failed to
do so, but it's not clear whether the intent was to help direct her
to the proper runway.
After takeoff, at 3,000 feet, Symons radioed departure control
at Portland International Jetport to report an attitude indicator
failure. NTSB reported she also said she didn’t know which
way she was turning. Four minutes after takeoff, the plane crashed
and burned in a wooded area of West Gardiner.
The NTSB also notes Symon's Citation 525 was pulled from the
hangar and onto the ramp about an hour before takeoff, to make room
for a jet operated by the hangar's Part 121 owner -- which
cancelled its flight due to weather conditions.
Release of the NTSB's full report on probable cause is expected
in about a year.