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Last updated: 6 December 2021
Date:Thursday 20 December 2001
Type:Silhouette image of generic C560 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 560 Citation V
Operator:Eagle Air Ltd. Aircharter + Taxi
Registration: HB-VLV
MSN: 560-0077
First flight: 1990
Total airframe hrs:3559
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-5A
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Zürich-Kloten Airport (ZRH) (   Switzerland)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Departure airport:Zürich-Kloten Airport (ZRH/LSZH), Switzerland
Destination airport:Berne-Belp Airport (BRN/LSZB), Switzerland
Flightnumber: 220
Cessna Citation HB-VLV arrived at Zürich at 20:31 following a charter flight from East Midlands. The airplane was scheduled to be ferried to Bern the same evening. Takeoff was postponed due to deteriorating weather circumstances. This meant additional pressure on the crew since they had to arrive at Bern before 22:30 for which the company CEO had received a special authorisation. Finally at 21:43 the crew were cleared to start the engines. The aircraft then taxied to runway 34 for departure. The crew taxied onto the runway and, after they had received takeoff clearance at 22:05:54, initiated a rolling takeoff by setting takeoff power. At this time, meteorological visibility was 100 m with partial fog. After reaching a height of 500 to 600 ft above ground level, the aircraft began to loose altitude. A corrective manoeuvre was commenced though this was not able to prevent impact with the ground. The aircraft impacted onto the frozen ground 400 m to the south-east of the end of runway 34 and skidded in a northerly direction, leaving a trail of debris.

Probable Cause:

The accident is attributable to the fact that the crew of HB-VLV did not continue their climb after take-off. As a result the aircraft came in a descent and collided with the terrain. The investigation determined the following causal factor for the accident:
- With a high degree of probability the crew lost spatial orientation after take-off, leading to an unintentional loss of altitude.
The following factors contributed to the accident:
- The copilot’s basic training in instrument flying did not include night instrument take-offs.
- The crew’s method of working was adversely affected by great time pressure.
- Executing the take-off as a rolling take-off was not adapted to the prevailing meteorological conditions.
- There was no system in the aircraft which triggers an alarm in the event of a loss of altitude after take-off (GPWS).
- The instrumentation on the copilot’s side of the aircraft involved in the accident was not optimal.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BFU Switzerlnd
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: No. 1829
Download report: Final report

Loss of situational awareness
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground


photo of Cessna-560-Citation-V-HB-VLV
accident date: 20-12-2001
type: Cessna 560 Citation V
registration: HB-VLV

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 Zürich-Kloten Airport to Berne-Belp Airport as the crow flies is 100 km (62 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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