CJP 2022: Convention Hosts Unprecedented Level of Safety Content
It would be impossible to detail and document ALL the safety-related content that was available at this year’s CJP Annual Convention in just one article, or even several. (It would take longer to read about all of them than the actual sessions themselves!) Here is a brief overview of the topics discussed in this year’s safety-focused sessions and presentations, and be sure to check out CJP’s other safety-focused content here.
Citation Accident Summary Tackles Overruns, Maintenance Issues
Runway excursions are the leading cause of accidents for most Citation types, and Textron Aviation Senior Accident Investigator Peter Basile brought the data to back that up in his annual Citation Accident Review, held as part of the CJP Safety Standdown.
For example, of 164 accidents and incidents involving the C525 series from 2008 to Sept. 30, 2022, 46 involved runway excursions. For Citation Mustangs, eight of 35 incidents over the same time period involved overruns. Moreover, such accidents typically occur when landing on runways between 5,000′ – 6,000′ – well within the aircrafts’ capabilities – and, perhaps most surprisingly, most often occurred in spring and summer conditions, as was the case with a CJ3 that overran the runway at New Jersey’s Essex County Airport (CDW) in April 2022.
While the NTSB did not need to pull the aircraft’s flight data recorder – its investigation wrapped in five months due to ample video footage of the accident, and the pilot’s own admission of fault – Basile obtained the FDR data for the accident approach. CJP Partner CloudAhoy then correlated that data to then present a visual representation of the approach, showing that the aircraft touched down more than halfway down the runway at more than 100 knots.
Basile also reviewed other accident scenarios, including the fatal downing of a C551 off the coast of Latvia that looks to have been a pressurization issue. He also examined the Sept. 2022 gear-up landing of a CJ3 in Pasco, WA that resulted in a fire that consumed most of the jet, although everyone onboard was able to safely evacuate. The pilot later told the NTSB he couldn’t recall confirming that the gear was down and locked, and “he didn’t realize what was going on until [the aircraft] floated longer than expected,” Basile said.
Another scenario highlighted the importance of ensuring the proper fasteners are used when securing engine cowlings, as demonstrated in a 2020 accident involving a Citation Encore that lost its right nacelle halves while inflight.
The aircraft landed safely – but photos showing part of the lower cowling wrapped around the horizontal stab, with a good chunk of the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer missing, highlight what can happen when even a few of the 32 fasteners securing each cowling are missing, or are of the wrong type.
Inaugural Safe to Land (sm) Ground School
CJP Safety Committee Chairman Charlie Precourt led attendees through the first-ever Safe to Land (sm) ground school course that will be offered through FlightSafety International (FSI).
Developed with the invaluable assistance of FSI Instructor Dax Beal, the STL ground school course includes a review of the results of the groundbreaking study conducted by CJP and Presage Group that examined the how and why of making go around decisions.
“Our pilots then created new approach cards and tested them in the FlightSafety’s simulators on over 200 approaches,” Precourt said. “As a result, you’ll see our new Safe to Land (sm) briefing cue card that’s been designed with callouts specifically for Citations.”
The course also includes video demonstrations of the stabilized approach callouts, performed in the simulator by Master CFI Neil Singer, as well as how to recover from an unstable approach or initiate a go-around. Additional information about Safe to Land (sm) and the ground school course is available here.
Following the program, FlightSafety’s Mike Croitoru announced attendees of the presentation would have that time credited toward FSI’s Safe to Land training program, with C510 Mustang completing the course before June 30, 2023 able to forego the ground school portion and move directly into simulator training. Other aircraft types will be brought online in the future.
While the course examines the root causes of runway excursions in minute detail, Precourt noted a simple rule of thumb for all pilots to consider when on approach to land. “If you’re 30% fast, you’re gonna eat up 70% more runway than the book [numbers],” he said. “It’s just a flat-out rule of thumb that works for every airplane.”
CJP CEO Trent J. Corcia also recognized the CJP members who have accumulated 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 flying hours in Citation jets, along with the 71 members who met CJP’s Gold Standard Safety Award criteria in 2022. In a surprise announcement, FlightSafety stated it will cover 2023 membership dues in CJP for those 71 members.
New “What Good Looks Like” Videos
As has become tradition, Saturday morning kicked off with the introduction of seven new “What Good Looks Like” CJP safety video presentations, addressing safety issues including loss of cabin pressurization, trim misplacement and having the parking brake set during takeoff.
A couple of the new videos focus specifically on potential issues for legacy Citation aircraft, including one dealing with differing switch placement and inadvertent shutoff of the ignition switches on climbout. The full roster of available “What Good Looks Like” videos, including the latest Series #5, is available here.
CJP Safety and Education Foundation Director of Programs and Safety Education David Miller thanked CJP members who have contributed their experiences and encouraged others to suggest topics. “We welcome anything that you want to communicate to our members about how to more safely operate our airplanes,” he added. “It may save a life someday, or just make all our flying more safe.”
Proper and Practical Performance Planning
Safety content at CJP 2022 concluded Saturday with a two-part look at takeoff and landing performance and runway analysis planning, which presenter Neil Singer noted isn’t just a good idea.
“It’s also an established best practice for turbine operations,” he noted, “and in some parts of the world is required. If anyone has ever heard of a SAFA check, this is a very comprehensive ramp inspection that you can receive in Europe and other parts of the world, and they will tell you, ‘I need to see the runway analysis for the airport you just took off from.’ This is mandatory!”
Runway analysis and performance apps from ForeFlight or APG – only available for iOS, Singer noted – can assist pilots in this process. “These apps are the good; unfortunately, they’re really the only good solution for performance,” he added. “I say unfortunately, because choice is nice and we only have really two good options.”
Singer walked attendees through performance calculations for a variety of airports, weather conditions and surrounding terrain.
He also emphasized the importance of performing a detailed runway analysis, taking into account nearby obstacles, rather than relying on the basic takeoff weight and performance computations available through most glass flight decks and apps like Cesnav.
“When you see an obstacle limit in the runway analysis, what that is telling you is very simple,” Singer said. “If you take off at a weight higher than that number, and you lose an engine, you are 99% likely to fly into something.”
The presentation also addressed some common flight deck myths and misperceptions that can lead to dangerous consequences for pilots. That includes reliance on book values to determine whether a runway is safe to land on or not.
Calculating required landing distance on a non-dry runway surface, “is not very scientific, unfortunately,” Singer said. “I just showed you how precisely the OEM goes out and calculates the dry performance, [but] when we start getting into non-dry performance, it’s not science, it’s statistics. It’s gambling. And the problem with gambling is it works until it doesn’t.”
With so many variables, perhaps it isn’t surprising that contaminated runways pose such risks to pilots – and even greater risk than many may think. “It’s one thing to say, ‘oh, there’s four times more runway overruns that happened on a wet runway than dry runways,'” Singer said. “But you also have to ask yourself, ‘how many more landings happen on a wet runway?’
“When you do that calculation, it’s actually way worse,” he noted, “because not only are there far more overruns on wet runways, there are also far less operations on wet runways. So it’s even worse than it looks.”
All photos by Stratton DV Imaging unless otherwise noted.