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Date:Sunday 24 October 2004
Type:Silhouette image of generic LJ35 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Learjet 35A
Operator:Med Flight Air Ambulance
Registration: N30DK
MSN: 35A-345
First flight: 1980
Total airframe hrs:10047
Engines: 2 Garrett TFE731-2-2B
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Total:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:13 km (8.1 mls) E of San Diego-Brown Field Municipal Airport, CA (SDM) (   United States of America)
Crash site elevation: 701 m (2300 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:San Diego-Brown Field Municipal Airport, CA (SDM/KSDM), United States of America
Destination airport:Albuquerque International Airport, NM (ABQ/KABQ), United States of America
The flight departed Brown Field's runway 08 at 00:23 after dropping a medical patient off, and was returning to Albuquerque. It climbed straight ahead and the SoCAL TRACON controller instructed the pilots to turn to a heading of 020 degrees, maintain VFR (visual flight rules), and expect their IFR clearance above 5,000 feet. The aircraft then entered a broken-to-overcast layer of clouds and crashed into the Otay Mountain at an altitude of 2300 feet.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The flight crew's failure to maintain terrain clearance during a visual flight rules (VFR) departure, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain, and the air traffic controller's issuance of a clearance that transferred the responsibility for terrain clearance from the flight crew to the controller. Additionally, the controller's failure to provide terrain clearance instructions to the flight crew, and failure to advise the flight crew of the minimum safe altitude warning (MSAW) alerts was also causal to the accident."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 7 months
Accident number: NTSB AAB-06-05
Download report: Final report
Language: English

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain




This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from San Diego-Brown Field Municipal Airport, CA to Albuquerque International Airport, NM as the crow flies is 990 km (619 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Learjet 35

  • 738 built
  • 58th loss
  • 42nd fatal accident
  • 6th worst accident (at the time)
  • 10th worst accident (currently)
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