Citation overflies vehicle at 1 metre after take-off without clearance at Reykjavik

CitationJet CJ2 overflies airport vehicle at 1 metre after take-off without clearance at Reykjavik

On the morning of January 11th 2018 rain showers were present, the temperature was around freezing point and the runway braking action was poor at Reykjavik Airport (BIRK). It was decided to sand both runways.

At 10:04 the controller contacted the flight crew of a Cessna 525A CitationJet CJ2, N525FF, and informed them of the braking action on runway 19. The flight crew decided to proceed and were cleared to “Hold short RWY 19.” This was read back correctly by the flight crew.

At 10:07 the Tower controller gave the flight crew of N525FF the following instructions: “525FF Backtrack line up RWY 19,” which was also read back correctly by the flight crew.

Following communications in Icelandic about the sanding of the runways, the controller cleared the flight “… right turn line up RWY 19.”
The sanding truck had finished its run down the right side of runway 13. It then turned around at the end of runway 13 to start its run down the left side of runway 13, to sand that side of the runway.

While the Tower controller was focused on communications, he did not notice that the flight crew of airplane N525FF started their take-off roll on RWY 19 after having turned at the runway end.

When the sanding truck that was sanding runway 13 was about to cross runway 19, its driver noticed an airplane very close on runway 19, on his right side, just about to lift off. According to the sanding truck driver, he did not have sufficient time to react. The sanding truck was already at the runway center line of runway 19 when N525FF reached the runway section where RWY 19 crosses RWY 13.

N525FF took off and flew over the sanding truck at 10:11. There was a serious risk of collision, as the minimum distance between N525FF and the sanding truck is believed to have been less than 1 meter.

According to the Pilot Flying (PF) of N525FF, he recalled that they had been cleared to taxi and backtrack runway 19. When they turned around to line up on runway 19, the PF also recalled that the PNF transmitted that they were “ready for departure”. At this time the PF had already increased the thrust significantly and the aircraft started to slide on the ice, so the commander (PF) said “we have to go” and commenced the take-off.

The ITSB analysis of the ATC recordings concluded that said transmission by the PF “ready for departure”, did not take place.

The ITSB believes that if all the communications on the tower frequency would have been in English, then the flight crew of airplane N525FF might have been aware that RWY 13 was being sanded

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: TSB Iceland
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year 1 month
Download Final report:

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