Expert: Ice shouldn’t have affected chartered jet that crashed |

Expert: Ice shouldn’t have affected chartered jet that crashed

DENVER ” A chartered jet that crashed during takeoff in wintry weather likely had more than enough power to overcome the weight of any ice that might have formed on the wings, an expert said as federal investigators began their work toward finding the cause of the accident.

The twin-engine Challenger CL-601 crashed and exploded in Montrose on Sunday, killing the pilot and a flight attendant and injuring NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol and one of his sons.

Another son, Edward “Teddy” Ebersol, 14, was presumed dead, and crews recovered a body believed to be that of the teen from underneath the charred fuselage of the jet Monday.

The co-pilot was injured. Montrose County Coroner Mark Young described him as being hospitalized in “very critical” condition at a burn unit in Denver.

A snowstorm had eased up before the plane prepared to take off, but there was no immediate word if weather was a factor in the crash or whether the plane had ice on the wings.

A Denver-based expert, however, said ice should not have made a difference.

“That thing is so overpowered that the weight of the ice can’t stop it from taking off,” said Dave Kempa, president of Air Denver, a referral service that matches charter jet operators with passengers.

It was not clear whether Ebersol’s plane had been sprayed with deicer, a hot mix of water and methyl alcohol that melts ice and snow.

Federal Aviation Administration rules bar aircraft from taking off with ice or snow on the wings or some other surfaces. Ice can make a plane too heavy to fly and can also affect its aerodynamics.

“It’s a double whammy,” Kempa said.

The decision on whether a plane is up to the pilot, but most airlines and charter services have explicit guidelines. A spokeswoman for Jet Alliance of Millville, N.J., which registered the Challenger carrying Ebersol, said the company had no immediate comment on the crash.

Kempa said the pilot may have tried to abort the takeoff because of a still-unknown problem, but if the runway was slippery, he may not have been able to stop.

“They started a takeoff roll,” he said. “That indicates at some time they decided to abort the takeoff and with the snow on the runway the brakes just didn’t hold.”

National Transportation Safety Board investigators were examining the wreckage Monday afternoon.

Kempa said he frequently works with Jet Alliance, “and they normally do a very good job.”

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