A chartered jet carrying executives from a Pawn Shop chain crashed upon landing in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, earlier this week. There were no fatalities to the four passengers and two crewmembers, and only minor injuries. The Gulfstream G200, sold by Gulfstream and manufactured by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), was previously known as the Galaxy. It’s a midsized business jet that Gulfstream sold for several years in the early 2000s before unveiling an updated super midsize design, the G280 (originally called the G250).
Reports are that the jet went off Runway 02 and departed control and slid down a bank, breaking in two in the process.
Runway excursions, when a landing aircraft departs the runway either when taking off or landing, are not rare events, unfortunately. We all know people who have taken out a runway light or two. But when it comes to jets, excursions, or departures as they’re sometimes called, from the runway are often fatal events.
Tegucigalpa is a challenging airport. Over the years there have been a number of accidents there, including most infamously the crash of a TAN Boeing 727 in 1989 that killed 146 passengers and crew when the tri-jet hit a mountain on descent into the narrow bowl in which the airport is situated. And though Tegucigalpa, which sis at 3,294 feet above sea level, it isn’t a particularly high airport by Latin America standards, its single runway is just over 6,000 feet long, which provides some margin for error for a super-midsized jet like the G200, but not much.
Inexplicably an aviation commentator described as an expert in a story on BBC News’ website seemed to suggest that mental fatigue or a design that tended toward a rear center of gravity might have been at play in the accident. It was a strange place to go. The damage to the airplane almost certainly resulted from it departing the runway and going down a sizable embankment.
There have been three G200s involved in runway excursions this year alone. Along with last week’s crash, a G200 ran off the runway in Lagos, Nigeria, in January, and earlier this month a G200 on a training flight went off the runway at Yangzhou Taizhou Airport in China.
The remarkable thing about all of these accidents is that there were no fatalities in any of them.