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G650 Crash Update: Crew Was Doing Takeoff Tests

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The crew of a Gulfstream G650 test aircraft that crashed at Roswell, N.M., on Saturday morning had been conducting braking tests, according to Gulfstream. All on board -- two pilots and two flight engineers -- were killed. The aircraft had been in the pattern for a couple of hours, FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford told EAA over the weekend. Skies were clear and winds were light from the southwest. "The plane had just lifted off when the right wing struck the concrete. The plane hit the ground again and the landing gear collapsed," Lunsford said. The airplane skidded for some distance and slid to a stop about 40 feet from the control tower. The aircraft was destroyed by fire. Gulfstream released a brief statement on Saturday confirming the crash. On Sunday evening, the company released the names of the four men who died. "We mourn the loss of our colleagues and friends and extend our deepest sympathies to their families," said Joe Lombardo, president of Gulfstream Aerospace.

Killed in the crash were experimental test pilots Kent Crenshaw, 64, and Vivan Ragusa, 51, and technical specialists David McCollum, 47, and Reece Ollenburg, 48. All four were residents of Savannah, Ga. The G650 is the largest jet in the Gulfstream line, and aims to be the fastest civil airplane, with speeds up to Mach 0.925. The company has been flying the test fleet since November 2009, accumulating hundreds of hours. About 200 orders are on the books for the $65 million jet, which seats up to 18 and can fly up to 7,000 nm nonstop. Deliveries are expected to start sometime next year.

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