The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an alert to inform Cessna Citation operators of sensitive aileron trim controls.
The Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) was issued following tests of the Citation aileron trim system that were conducted after a fatal accident in 2007.
In June 2007, a Cessna 550 Citation II airplane being operated by an air ambulance operator crashed shortly after takeoff, killing the two pilots and four passengers. A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation revealed that a misuse of aileron trim, which caused the pilot to lose control of the aircraft, was a contributing factor in the accident.
The NTSB issued several recommendations to the FAA to evaluate the Citation’s aileron trim deflection and sensitivity.
Subsequently, in July 2010, Cessna and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conducted flight tests to evaluate the sensitivity of the aileron trim system. These tests found that the aileron trim system’s sensitivity is appropriate for its intended use.
Due to the complexities of the aileron trim system, the FAA says it is imperative that operators adhere to aircraft limitations and standard operating procedures (SOP). Pilots flying Citation CE-500 type aircraft should follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedures for the use of aileron trim including verifying that aileron trim is set properly prior to takeoff. When airborne, pilots should exercise caution when using aileron trim, avoiding excessive trim. Operators are recommended to verify that their CE-500 training programs are consistent with the manufacturer’s recommended procedures for the use of the aileron trim system.