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Aborted takeoff sends Hawker 800XP off runway and closes Aspen Airport

?Hawker 800XP that slid off runway in aborted takeoff at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, Photo credit: Pitkin County Incident Management TeamA winter holiday weekend means Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE) is populated with business jet arrivals and departures every few minutes. This President's Day weekend was no different with the added factor of gusty winds for those attempting to land or depart from the airport.A Hawker 800XP business jet -- N99AP owned by Roper Aviation LLC -- was bound for Austin, Texas with four passengers and two crew members when it skidded off Runway 33 at ASE and came to rest on the airport property during takeoff Monday morning. The passengers and crew were able to safely evacuate the aircraft and no injuries were reported.At this time, it is unclear to the public what the cause was, but the aircraft was moved that night to a staging area for the NTSB and FAA to investigate.A few aircraft waiting in sequence behind the Hawker to depart were forced to return to the ramp as the airport was closed for approximately nine hours before reopening late Monday night. In the ATC audio released on YouTube, the Air Traffic Controller informed the crew of N99Ap that the winds were 160 at 16 gusting to 25 as they were cleared for takeoff. This could mean that a takeoff on Runway 33 would result in almost a direct tailwind. There was no precipitation at the time and the clouds were reported to be scattered at 4,000 and broken at 7,000. Although there is not yet a cause attributed to the accident, the conditions resemble the Bombardier Challenger 600 crash that occurred in 2014 at ASE when the aircraft attempted a second approach with wind gusts to 25 knots and a 24 knot tailwind. The crash left the first officer deceased and two passengers injured.Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is known as one of the most challenging in the United States. The elevation is 7,838 feet, which is one of the highest commercially operated airports in the country alongside Telluride Regional Airport (TXE).RELATED: Your 2021 Guide to Flying Into Aspen, CODue to the mountains surrounding ASE, the airport is a one-way-in, one-way-out airport as all approaches are to Runway 15 and all departures takeoff from Runway 33. This explains why the crew was departing Runway 33 with a tailwind.This event serves as a teaching point for pilots to evaluate all factors to make a proper go/no-go decision.On Monday morning, there were numerous jets departing ASE, but that doesn't mean that as a pilot, you should always follow the crowd.It is also important to develop personal minimums early on in flight training and if you venture into a professional flying environment, learn to tell your passengers "no" if you don't feel comfortable with the weather conditions, aircraft, or other factors contributing to the safety of the flight.Pilots can control their safety and the safety of others by weighing factors beyond getting to the next destination as quickly as possible.Previous stories from Grace Kane:British Airways A321 hits London Heathrow runway in aborted landing caught on cameraAnalysis of NTSB preliminary report from the California Learjet 35A crash that killed 4
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