NTSB: Aggressive Control, Poor Briefing Contributed To Crash

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The NTSB says over-control by the pilot and inadequate preflight briefing contributed to the crash of a Challenger 604 test aircraft at Wichita in October of 2000. The plane was rigged to be aft-heavy to test the pressure-feel simulator. During the takeoff run, the NTSB report says, fuel rushed to the rear of the tanks, adding to the unbalanced state. The plane stalled twice after takeoff and crashed in flames after 10 seconds in the air. The pilot and an engineer died the crash and the co-pilot died 36 days later. The NTSB said the crew talked about the aft center of gravity before the flight but, according to the Associated Press, Bombardier didn't tell the crew how that might affect the plane's performance. The NTSB also said the pilot, Bryan Irelan, had never flown the plane in that configuration and was too aggressive on the controls, resulting in a high pitch rate on takeoff. The report also cited lack of direct oversight by the FAA and Transport Canada over the testing. Bombardier has since redesigned the fuel system to reduce fuel migration.