NBAA honors drivers who disembarked Citation after two extinctions


The NBAA honored Captain Bruce Monnier and co-captain Gerald Downs of air ambulance operator Air Trek with its first NBAA Above and Beyond Airmanship Award at a virtual security town hall on October 7. The award “recognizes measures taken to prevent injury, loss of life and / or major or catastrophic damage to business aircraft,” the NBAA said in a press release.

On May 9, 2019, the jet was one of two Air Trek planes that received fuel contaminated with diesel exhaust fluid, a urea-based chemical used to reduce emissions from diesel engines that had been added mistakenly supplying fuel to a tanker truck at Punta Gorda Airport in Florida. DEF is not intended for use in airplanes and can trigger chemical reactions leading to the formation of crystals which can clog filters or damage engines.

The AOPA reported at the time that the two planes left Air Trek’s base in Punta Gorda and traveled to Naples, Florida, where medics, patients and their families boarded. One Citation was on its way to Niagara Falls, New York, when it suffered an engine failure over the Atlantic Ocean north of Savannah, Georgia. It lost its second engine in a diversion to Savannah but was able to glide to a safe landing. The other Citation was bound for Chicago when it suffered an engine failure and landed safely in Louisville, Kentucky. A total of 13 occupants escaped without injury, Air Trek said. Both devices were declared total losses.

Monnier and Downs shared their thoughts on the emergency with AOPA Air Safety Institute Senior Vice President Richard McSpadden in this episode of the This is where I was … Podcast.

Among the challenges they faced, said Monnier, “there is no checklist for dual engine failures” in the Citation II. Additionally, the pilots were unsure whether the landing gear would operate normally or whether it should be pneumatically extended – blown, as the pilots described this eventuality – after landing on the runway.

On the bright side, they said, the crew felt they were “ahead of the plane” throughout the emergency, and that their combined experience, including the Downs glider qualification, and their coordination created a calm cockpit environment with easy communications.

Incidents, including Air Trek flights, have highlighted concerns in the aviation industry about the high risk of DEF contamination of fuel that will persist as long as the substance is to be used in airport vehicles. in accordance with environmental mandates.

AOPA has worked to educate the general aviation community about the risk of fuel contamination by DEF. As of August 2019 aircraft ‘will be exempt from having to use DEF. The EPA has yet to respond, despite follow-up investigations from Congress.

The FAA has told AOPA that it is updating advisory circular 150 / 5230-4C. The HQ deals with fuel errors and DEF contamination incidents and provides advice on creating, implementing and documenting fuel related fire safety programs required by FAA regulations.

The NBAA’s Oct. 7 town hall event also featured a discussion on flight safety moderated by aviation journalist Miles O’Brien, who was joined by McSpadden and well-known flight training experts John and Martha. King of King Schools.


Kevin A. Perras