Control Problem Eyed in Gulfstream IV Crash

GIV reached 165 knots during aborted takeoff.

Gulfstream IV Crash NTSB

Gulfstream IV Crash NTSB

** NTSB investigators at the site of the Gulfstream IV crash.**NTSB

Cockpit voice and flight data recorder information recovered in the wreckage of a deadly Gulfstream IV crash at Hanscom Field outside Boston on May 31 reveals the crew experienced some type of control problem at very high speed late in the takeoff roll.

All seemed normal to the GIV pilots as they advanced the power levers on KBED’s Runway 11 for the 9:40 p.m. departure, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. One of the crew members can be heard calling out “V1” followed a moment later by “rotate.” An instant later the pilots can be heard on the CVR discussing control difficulty. The FDR shows that the thrust reversers and brakes were then applied in an effort to abort the takeoff.

By this point, 49 seconds after the takeoff roll began, the Gulfstream reached a maximum speed of 165 knots with insufficient runway remaining to safely stop. The jet ended up crashing into a gully 1,800 feet off the end of the 7,011-foot runway and bursting into flames, killing all seven on board including the two pilots, a flight attendant and four passengers. One of them was Larry Katz, 72, the owner of The Philadelphia Enquirer.

Investigators have confirmed through the FDR data that the pilots set flaps to 10 degrees, but they have not determined whether the flaps physically moved into position. No hydraulic fluid that might indicate a mechanical failure was found on the runway, the NTSB said. Investigators are now reviewing airport security camera footage showing the crash sequence to help determine what went wrong.

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