Flight Crew Awareness of Departure Runway Length
An Aviation Safety Information Letter from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada(TSB)

On October14,2007, a Learjet55C was departing Springbank,Alta., on an instrument flight rules(IFR) flight to Minot,North Dakota. During the take-off roll on Runway25, the aircraft overran the departure end for approximately 67ft before becoming airborne. The aircraft settled back to the ground and touched down 130ft later, where it came into contact with the terrain and remained on the ground for 30ft until it finally succeeded in taking off. The aircraft sustained substantial damage to the right main landing gear and the right wing. The aircraft diverted to the Calgary International Airport, where it landed uneventfully. There were no injuries.

In accordance with the TSB Occurrence Classification Policy, the circumstances of this occurrence(A07W0181) were assessed and the occurrence was classified as a Class 5 occurrence. Consequently, TSB activity was limited to the collection of data, which has been recorded for safety analysis, statistical reporting, and archival purposes. The following paragraphs contain safety-related information derived during the assessment of this occurrence.

The crew arrived at the fixed-base operator(FBO) at about 09:00 Mountain Daylight Time(MDT) on October14. Upon arrival, it was determined that the FBO was not equipped to support a corporate charter flight and the first officer had to be dispatched to obtain a bag of ice for the commissary. The captain remained at the FBO to complete the flight planning and aircraft pre-flight inspection. During this time, a take-off and landing data(TOLD) card was prepared for the flight with the intent of departing Runway34, a 5000-ft runway. Performance calculations indicated that Runway34 was suitable for departure.

The captain requested the departure clearance from the Springbank ground controller at 10:36MDT. The clearance given was for a departure off Runway25. The controller advised that Runway34 was available; however, the captain accepted Runway25. The runway length for Runway25(3 423 ft) was not given to the crew by ATC, nor was it required. A revised TOLD card for Runway25 was not completed; the captain believed that the runway lengths of runways 25and34 were similar based on his recollection of the airport layout from his arrival three days earlier.

Portion of the Calgary/Springbank aerodrome chart with both runways clearly marked
Portion of the Calgary/Springbank aerodrome chart with both runways clearly marked

At 11:50MDT, the crew received taxi clearance for Runway25 and proceeded to taxi to that runway. The crew could readily see Runway25 from the taxiway and did not consult the current Jeppesen aerodrome chart available in the cockpit during the short taxi to the threshold of Runway25. Basing their decision on their perception of the runway length, the crew used a runway that was not sufficiently long to ensure a safe departure, resulting in the aircraft overrunning the runway and sustaining significant damage.

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