Loss of control in flight event due to suspected icing: tailplane or main wing stall?

Kare Halvorsen, Mike Bromfield, Nadjim Horri, Knut Lande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In January 2017, a business jet was on a short repositioning flight in Norway with two pilots on board and no pas¬sengers or cargo. Initially, the takeoff proceeded as normal. As the landing gear was retracted, the pilots observed that the airspeed was rapidly approaching the flap limiting speed of 200 knots. As the flaps were retracted at a height above ground level of approximately 2,000 feet, the crew, restrained by their seat belts, experienced a violent nose-down pitch motion as the aircraft started banking sharply to the left. A full investigation was conducted by the Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority (NSIA), supported by industry and academic partners. It is likely that the captain (pilot flying) and first officer (pilot monitoring [PM]) experienced different levels of startle and/or surprise during the upset. Control was regained at a height of approximately 170 feet above ground level. Data from the flight data recorder (FDR) showed that the aircraft experienced -2.62 g’s during the pitch down upset and +5.99 g’s during the pullout. A tailplane stall due to icing was suspected; however, the FDR, being limited to 36 parameters, was not on its own able to confirm this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


  • Loss of control
  • in flight
  • Icing


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