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Last updated: 23 October 2021
Date:Monday 10 December 2001
Time:18:21 MST
Type:Silhouette image of generic LJ24 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Learjet 24D
Operator:Air Cargo Express
Registration: N997TD
MSN: 24-247
First flight: 1972
Total airframe hrs:7966
Engines: 2 General Electric CJ610-6
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Sierra Blanca, TX (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Harlingen-Valley International Airport, TX (HRL/KHRL), United States of America
Destination airport:El Paso International Airport, TX (ELP/KELP), United States of America
Flightnumber: 36
Learjet N997TD, operating as Turbodog 36, departed Harlingen at 17:00 for a positioning flight to El Paso. At 18:09 Albuquerque ARTCC cleared the pilot to descend "at pilot's discretion" from FL390 to 10,000 feet. Ten minutes later the flight was cleared direct to El Paso. At 1821:06, while the plane was descending through FL219, Albuquerque instructed the pilot to contact El Paso approach control. The pilot acknowledged with an incorrect frequency and uttered an unintelligible sound. The controller attempted to correct the readback, but no response was received and the pilot never contacted El Paso approach control. During this exchange the transponder's mode C function indicated the airplane climbed to FL225. The airplane continued to climb to FL231 and at 1821:20 no mode C was received from the airplane. The Learjet had entered an uncontrolled descent and crashed.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Loss of control during descent for undetermined reasons."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 5 months
Accident number: FTW02FA048
Download report: Summary report

Loss of control



photo of Learjet-24D-D-ICAP
accident date: 10-12-2001
type: Learjet 24D
registration: D-ICAP

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 Harlingen-Valley International Airport, TX to El Paso International Airport, TX as the crow flies is 1044 km (652 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the 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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