A corporate jet that ran off the runway at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa last year was piloted by two men who were not qualified to fly the aircraft, according to an FAA report obtained by NBC 7 Investigates. Not only that, but the plane wasn't going fast enough, and was 3,000 pounds over-weight based on the length of the runway.
The crash happened on February 13, 2021, just before noon, as the plane was taking off. The jet, a Dassault Falcon 900EX, ran 560 feet off the runway, which sheared off its three landing gears. Both wing fuel tanks breached, causing a large fuel spill which did not catch fire. Five people were on board including three crew members. The pilot-in-command was the only person hurt, which was a minor injury.
The FAA report states Scott Kitchens was the pilot-in-command but indicates that he didn't hold a valid pilot certificate, which had been revoked two years prior to the crash. The other pilot, Nathan Russell's credentials prohibited him from piloting an aircraft without a properly licensed pilot in command. But neither of the men were certified to fly that particular type of aircraft.
The information in the report closely matches new claims made in a civil filing regarding aviation insurance. Court documents show that upon takeoff, Kitchens and Russell were "unqualified to operate the aircraft" that never lifted off the ground and were forced to abort the takeoff. Those documents say this resulted in over $75,000 in damages.
The complaint was filed by United States Aviation Underwriters Inc. (USAIG), an aviation insurance company that was covering the jet, who is suing Aerospike Iron, LLC and Charles Brandes as a result of this crash.
The complaint filed can be found below: