NTSB:Tire Failure Caused Crash of Learjet Carrying DJ AM, BLINK 182 Drummer

April 7, 2010
Abram I. Bohrer


A plane crash that killed four people and injured Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker was caused by under-inflated tyres, investigators have said.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also said a design flaw in the Learjet and a decision to abort takeoff were factors in the crash.

Barker and radio host DJ AM were the only survivors of the September 2008 air crash in South Carolina, US.

“This accident didn’t have to happen,” said NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman.

Brake failure

The Learjet in which Barker and DJ AM – real name Adam Goldstein – were travelling left the runway on take-off in Columbia, on 19 September 2008 and crashed on a nearby road before bursting into flames.

Goldstein died of an accidental drug overdose in New York almost a year later.

The board heard how all four of the plane’s tyres burst as it sped down the runway at about 150 mph.

Pieces of tyre damaged the aircraft’s hydraulic system which caused the brakes to fail.

The flight captain – who had just 35 hours of experience flying a Learjet 60 – made a split-second decision to abort the takeoff, even though the plane had passed the speed at which the takeoff could be safely rejected, investigators said.

Damage to a sensor that caused the plane’s on-board computers to conclude the plane was airborne when it was still on the ground also ruled out any possibility of the pilots being able to stop the plane.

Ms Hersman said the crash should be a warning to everyone in the aviation industry that “there are no small maintenance items, because every time a plane takes off lives are on the line”.

Global Exec Aviation, the charter company that operated the aircraft, estimated the last time the pressure in the plane’s tyres had been checked had been three weeks before the accident, investigators said.