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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

NTSB: Aggressive Flight Test Schedule Lead to Gulfstream Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found an aggressive flight test schedule contributed to the crash of an experimental Gulfstream G650 in 2011.

The crash was the result of an aerodynamic stall on the right wing of the plane causing an uncommanded roll with only one of the two jet engines operating. Two pilots and two flight engineers on board were killed in the April 2011 crash in Roswell, N.M.

In September, Gulfstream received a type certificate from FAA in September. 

“In this investigation we saw an aggressive test flight schedule and pressure to get the aircraft certified,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. “Deadlines are essential motivators, but safety must always trump schedule.”

During an NTSB board hearing Wednesday, safety experts said performance issues during previous test flights were not properly evaluated prior to the G650 jet taking off with a stimulated engine failure.

The board recommended a commissioned independent safety audit to review Gulfstream’s progress in implementing a flight test safety management system. 

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