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No Preflight Check on Doomed Hanscom Flight, Preliminary Report Reveals

The May 31 crash killed Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner and six others.

By John Waller and Kara Seymour

preliminary report released Friday on the May 31 plane crash in Massachusetts that killed Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz and six others found no evidence of a preflight check by the crew. The flight crashed after taking off from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass.

The flight data recorder did not "reveal any movement consistent with a flight control check prior to the commencement of the takeoff roll. The flap handle in the cockpit was observed in the 10 degree detent. FDR (flight data recorder) data indicated a flap setting of 20 degrees during the takeoff attempt." the report said. 

The plane's jet's tail flaps were locked and caused the series of events that led to the crash and subsequent explosion, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The preliminary report, which is consistent with past findings, gives a technical and detailed account of the crash:

“A witness observed the airplane on the takeoff roll at a ‘high speed’ with ‘little to no altitude gained.’ The airplane subsequently rolled off the end of the runway, on to a runway safety area, and then on to grass. The airplane continued on the grass, where it struck approach lighting and a localizer antenna assembly, before coming to rest in a gully … about 1,850 feet from the end of the runway. A postcrash fire consumed a majority of the airplane aft of the cockpit; however; all major portions of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site.”

“[Flight data recorder] data indicated the airplane reached a maximum speed of 165 knots during the takeoff roll and did not lift off the runway. FDR data further indicated thrust reversers were deployed and wheel brake pressures increased as the airplane decelerated. The FDR data ended about 7 seconds after thrust reverser deployment, with the airplane at about 100 knots. The FDR data did not reveal evidence of any catastrophic engine failures and revealed thrust lever angles consistent with observed engine performance. Review of FDR data parameters associated with the flight control surface positions did not reveal any movement consistent with a flight control check prior to the commencement of the takeoff roll. The flap handle in the cockpit was observed in the 10 degree detent. FDR data indicated a flap setting of 20 degrees during the takeoff attempt."

The plane, a Gulfstream G-IV, was headed to Atlantic City Airport. All seven on board included died in the crash.

Read NTSB’s full preliminary report.

More Patch coverage on the crash:

Ed Minall June 14, 2014 at 01:49 AM
Unfortunately, another situation where an accident occurred due to a failure to follow policies and procedures.

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