NTSB: Pilot Error May Have Contributed to Crash That Killed Lewis Katz

National Transportation Safety Board’s first report into the May 31st crash deems it a “rejected takeoff.”

This aerial photo from Monday, June 2, shows wreckage from where a plane plunged down and erupted in flames during a takeoff attempt at Hanscom Field on Saturday night in Bedford, Mass. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe, David L. Ryan)

This aerial photo from Monday, June 2, shows wreckage from where a plane plunged down and erupted in flames during a takeoff attempt at Hanscom Field on Saturday night in Bedford, Mass. (AP Photo/The Boston Globe, David L. Ryan)

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its first report on the Gulfstream IV jet crash that killed Lewis Katz and six others on May 31st. From the first, brief report on the crash, we can infer that pilot error may have contributed to the crash.

“Review of FDR [flight data recorder] 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 reports said. “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.”




"Right now, it looks like crew failure to complete the checklist," retired NTSB investigator Al Yurman told the Inquirer.

According to the NTSB report: "The FDR data revealed the elevator control surface position during the taxi and takeoff was consistent with its position if the gust lock was engaged. The gust lock handle, located on the right side of the control pedestal, was found in the forward (OFF) position, and the elevator gust lock latch was found not engaged."

In other words, the plane's elevators, which are flaps that control a plane's altitude, appear to have been found in locked position despite the lock control being found disengaged.

The May 31st crash killed Katz, a businessman and philanthropist who had just purchased part of the Inquirer, and three friends: Susan Asbell, Marcella Dalsey, and Anne Leeds. All three members of the flight crew (pilot James McDowell, copilot Bauke De Vries and flight attendant Teresa Ann Bernhoff) were also killed. The plane crashed, striking approach lighting and an antenna assembly. Much of the rear of the airplane was consumed by fire. A witness said the plane had "little to no altitude gained" on its takeoff attempt.

Officials said the flight recorder captured "comments concerning aircraft control" when the plane was supposed to lift its nose off the ground, but it has not confirmed what the comments were.

[The NTSB Report | Inquirer | Boston Globe]

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  • http://batman-news.com PPABootsquadVinnie

    And all we heard was Raves about how long his beloved flight crew was with him, how well they got along, and now it ends up his long-time pilot killed him?
    Usually there’s a lawsuit in these situations, but Who would be sued? Stay Tuned…..

  • Allison Kelsey

    So, the plane couldn’t get into the air because these elevators were locked, and the crew didn’t know they were locked because — although the locks appeared to be (or the sensors or whatever said they were) disengaged — the crew didn’t do a check to see that these elevators were, in fact, locked?

  • Chuck Schwinger

    hmmmmm. locked elevators….but the indicators said otherwise….hmmmm.