Citation 550, Taildragger Nearly Collide on Runway

A Cessna Citation 550 cleared a piston single taildragger by only 15 feet while the jet was taking off last week from Caruaru Airport, a non-tower airfield in northeastern Brazil. The jet lifted off early to avoid the single-engine airplane, which was landing from the opposite direction. (Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo published a dramatic series of photos of the near collision.) The Citation was carrying two pilots and six musicians on tour, and although owned by charter firm Abaeté Táxi Aéreo, it is not licensed for charter use. According to Folha, Abaeté owner Jorge Mello claimed the airplane was being loaned for trial before a possible purchase. The taildragger lacked a radio, and its nose-up attitude during landing blocked the view of the runway ahead, while the runway’s inclination blocked the jet crew’s view. Caruaru has no regular airline service. Regional airline Noar began service there last year, but its operations were suspended in July by Brazil’s civil aviation agency, ANAC, after its Let-410 crashed in nearby Recife, killing all 16 aboard. In July 2010, thieves drove onto the runway at Caruaru, crashing a pickup into a courier plane preparing for takeoff and escaping with bags of cash and banking documents.

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