By Glenn Pew, Contributing Editor, Video Editor
The NTSB has released its preliminary report on the crash last week at Roswell International Air Center Airport, N.M., of a Gulfstream GVI (G650) that killed all four aboard, and Gulfstream has suspended flight activities of its four remaining GVI jets. The NTSB says the jet was performing a takeoff with simulated engine failure and minimum flap settings at the time of the accident. Gulfstream says the accident aircraft had accumulated 425 hours since February 2010 and the GVI test fleet has accumulated 1570 hours to date. Certification and production work will continue, according to the company. Prior to the accident, first deliveries were expected sometime next year. No changes to that schedule have been announced. Gulfstream says it will provide any updates regarding the accident "appropriate with the pace of the investigation." The NTSB's investigation confirms the accident aircraft was engulfed in flame before it stopped.
The NTSB says wingtip scrape marks begin on the runway 5,300 feet from the end of the runway and "lead toward" the jet's final location about 3,800 feet farther away and 200 feet from the tower. According to witnesses, the aircraft was fully involved in fire while sliding across the ground and the NTSB confirms it struck several obstructions before it stopped. Airport rescue and fire crews "responded quickly," according to the NTSB, but all four aboard, all Gulfstream employees with ages ranging from 47 to 64, years perished. The G650 has a price tag of $64 million and has earned about 200 orders. It has been involved in flight tests since November 2009. Gulfstream says the jet will be the fastest civil airplane, carrying as many as 18 passengers at speeds up to 0.925 Mach. Configured for long-range operation, the jet can fly for 7,000 nm nonstop. Find the NTSB's preliminary report here. (PDF)