Accident on 5/12/2015 12:00:00 AM in Newport News, VA
Tail Number: N80PG
Aircraft Type: GATES LEAR JET 35
Serial Number: 063
Visibility: 10 statute miles
Wind Velocity: 11 knots
Wind Gusts: knots
Sky Condition: NONE at feet
Total Injuries: 0
Total Fatal Injuries: 0
NTSB No.: ERA15LA212
On May 12, 2015, about 1144 eastern daylight time a Gates Lear Jet 35, N80PG, operated by Phoenix Air Group Inc. was substantially damaged during landing rollout, following a return to the airport after an unsafe nose landing gear indication at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF), Newport News, Virginia. The airline transport certificated pilot and airline transport certificated copilot were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an IFR flight plan had been filed for the public use flight contracted by the United States Navy that departed PHF around 1123.
According to the flight crew, prior to departure at PHF, they preflighted the airplane and found everything to be normal including the nose gear strut and oleo gear extensions. On this flight the copilot was flying from the left seat and the pilot was flying from the right seat. They taxied to runway 25 and took off at approximately 1115 without incident.
The flight crew started running the after takeoff checklist and at "Positive Rate", the pilot moved the landing gear selector handle to the up position, and when he did, they felt and heard a loud "Clank" come from the nose of the airplane. They also observed that the red unsafe nose gear light had illuminated. The flight crew then recycled the landing gear handle with the same result.
The flight crew then elected to return to PHF because of the nose gear issue. They jettisoned fuel to get below maximum landing weight and then returned to the airport for landing. The pilot asked the air traffic controller in the control tower for permission to do a low approach to runway 20, and to visually inspect their nosewheel to make sure it was not in any other position than "straight." The flight crew then selected the landing gear handle to the down position and received three green landing gear down indications (everything normal) and then completed the before landing checklist.
The flight crew then executed a low approach for runway 20 and the air traffic controller advised that the nose landing gear appeared to be straight. The flight crew then kept the airplane in the landing configuration and entered a left downwind for runway 25.
During the landing, they touched down main wheels first, and held the nose off for as long as possible. Once the nose wheel touched down and weight was on the nose landing gear, the airplane suddenly turned sharply, 30 to 40 degrees to the left. Both flight crewmembers then applied right rudder to counter the turn without effect. The airplane then struck a concrete runway edge light base, turned about 180 degrees from its original direction of travel, and then came to rest on the left side of the runway.
The pilot then instructed the copilot to open the main door to egress but the copilot was unable to get the door to open, so he removed the emergency exit on the right side of the airplane. The pilot then completed the emergency evacuation procedures and egressed from the airplane after the copilot had egressed.
Examination of the airplane revealed that it was substantially damaged. The nose landing gear assembly, nose wheel steering servo, and nose wheel steering computer, were retained by the NTSB for further examination.