Loss of control in flight accident case study: icing related tailplane stall

Mike Bromfield*, Nadjim Horri, Kare Halvorsen, Knut Lande

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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In January 2017, a business jet flew in Norway on a short repositioning flight with two pilots onboard, no passengers or cargo. Initially, the take-off proceeded as normal but as the landing gear was retracted both pilots observed that the airspeed was rapidly approaching the flap limiting speed of 200 kts. When the flaps were fully retracted at a height of approximately 2,100 feet above ground level, the crew experienced a violent nose-down pitch motion. Control was regained at a height of approximately 170 feet above ground level and, following the accident, data from the Flight Data Recorder showed that the aircraft experienced -2.62 G during the pitch upset. A tailplane stall due to icing was suspected; however, the flight data recorder, being limited to 36 parameters, was not able to confirm this. For expediency during the accident investigation process, a simplified, linear flight dynamics model was developed using Matlab/Simulink to assess static and dynamic stability for a range of tailplane efficiency factors to simulate the effects of tailplane icing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Aeronautical Journal
Early online date20 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Mar 2023


  • loss of control
  • tailplane stall
  • icing


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