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Thu, Feb 05, 2009

Charter Company Indicted In 2005 TEB Overrun

Four Execs Already In Custody

Six executives of a Florida-based air charter service face federal criminal charges in connection with the crash of an overloaded jet which couldn't get off the runway at Teterboro, New Jersey in 2005.

Acting US Attorney Ralph J. Marra, Jr. tells the New Jersey Star-Ledger that Platinum Jet Management of Fort Lauderdale claimed to be a luxury charter service, but didn't hold the required certificate; falsified flight records; and routinely overloaded planes with fuel at airports where the price was cheaper, a practice known as 'tankering.'

"The fuel loading was the primary contributing factor in the crash," Marra said. "It is astounding -- and criminal -- that owners and operators of jet aircraft would repeatedly engage in such a dangerous game with passengers and airplanes loaded to the brim with jet fuel."

As ANN reported, on the morning of February 2, 2005 the pilots started a takeoff roll in the Challenger CL-600 with eight passengers. When the pilots found the plane wouldn't rotate, they tried to abort the takeoff... but crashed through a perimeter fence and out across six lanes of traffic on busy Route 46. A car's roof was torn off, and the plane finally stopped after hitting a clothing warehouse.

The National Transportation Safety Board ruled the plane had a center-of-gravity forward of limits. No one died, but the NTSB came down on the company for a host of violations, and the FAA for inadequate oversight.

Michael Brassington, the 35-year-old President and CEO, and chief pilot 29-year-old VP Paul Brassington -- Michael's brother -- and two other execs of Platinum Jet are in custody, and warrants are out for two more.

The suit also claims the captain of the flight that crashed at Teterboro reportedly lied about his experience on job applications, and had been fired from a previous job for safety related issues and poor airmanship. Neither pilot was charged in the Teterboro case.

FMI: Read The NTSB Probable Cause Report,


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