"Safety steps ignored before Hanscom crash, NTSB report shows" by Nestor Ramos Globe Staff April 08, 2015
The pilots of a Gulfstream IV jet that crashed last May at Hanscom Field, killing them and five others on board, skipped a pre-flight checklist and ignored a cockpit warning light, realizing too late that takeoff would be impossible, a series of National Transportation Safety Board reports released Tuesday show.
Always easy to blame dead guys.
Any one of a series of safety measures might have saved the doomed flight, which was carrying Philadelphia Inquirer owner Lewis Katz and friends home from a party.
Yeah, I'm finding it hard to believe that they would be so negligent with important people aboard.
But the pilots routinely failed to perform standard checks, records show.
And on May 31, they realized only at the point of liftoff, barreling down runway 11 at about 150 miles an hour, that the flight controls were locked and the plane could not get airborne.
I wonder if they were thinking I sure wish we did those checks!!
“Rotate,” said the copilot, James McDowell, indicating that it was time to pull back on the flight controls and bring the plane’s nose into the air at 9:39 p.m., according to a newly released transcript of the plane’s audio recorder.
Related: When Seeing and Hearing Isn't Believing
Worse yet, I'm being given transcripts!
But flight was impossible. The gust lock, a mechanism designed to prevent wind damage to the plane, had frozen the plane’s rudder and elevators in place. And though the gust lock was also meant to restrict the plane’s power under those conditions, it did not work as advertised, according to the documents.
“Lock is on,” pilot Bauke “Mike” De Vries said again and again, seven times over the next several seconds as the plane sped down the 7,011-foot runway and onto a paved safety area.
Had he begun braking and reversing power the first time he spoke those words, the plane would have screeched to a halt without incident, according to tests performed by investigators and detailed in one of dozens of new documents.
Instead, the plane plowed ahead until it was too late.
“I can’t stop it,” De Vries said 7 seconds before impact. “Oh no, no.”
On the grass beyond the runway, the Gulfstream IV jet struck a lighting rig and an antenna. When it came to rest in a gully nearly 2,000 feet beyond the runway, it burst into flames.
The last sound on the recorder was the impact.
The NTSB on Wednesday released more than 800 pages of documents. Though the reports do not draw conclusions about what caused the crash, they provide new insight into the moments, hours, and days that led to it.
In addition to the pilots and the 72-year-old Katz, the jet was carrying flight attendant Teresa Ann Benhoff, 48, of Easton, Md.; Anne Leeds, a retired preschool teacher from Longport, N.J.; Marcella Dalsey, executive director of the Drew A. Katz Foundation; and Susan K. Asbell, who served with Dalsey on the strategic planning committee of the Boys & Girls Club of Camden County, N.J.
What Happened at Hanscom?
Who Killed Lew Katz?
Sort of a strange thing to be asking.