NTSB Wants Changes After Gulfstream Crash

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The NTSB is seeking response within 90 days to ten new safety recommendations (five for the FAA, three for the Flight Test Safety Committee, and two for Gulfstream) born from the April 2, 2011, fatal crash of an experimental Gulfstream GVI (G650). The test aircraft went down near Roswell, N.M., during the final stages of certification flight testing, killing all four aboard. The NTSB's findings and recommendations were first released on Oct. 10, along with an associated NTSB press release that was critical of Gulfstream. NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman called the crash "as much an absence of leadership as it was of lift." The NTSB is now seeking, within 90 days, responses from the affected entities that detail actions taken to implement the recommendations.

The NTSB recommends that the Flight Test Safety Committee develop, with the FAA, flight test operating guidance for manufacturers and safety program guidelines. It also recommends that the Committee notify and coordinate flight tests with airport rescue personnel. The NTSB specifically calls on Gulfstream to commission a safety audit performed by an independent panel prior to the start of its next "major certification flight test program," with special attention to "areas of weakness" identified by the NTSB. It also asks that the company provide information about "lessons learned from the implementation of its flight test safety management system to interested manufacturers" and other "appropriate" parties. The five recommendations directed at the FAA include its participation in the other recommendations, as appropriate, and also to advise manufacturers to consider the possibility that lift coefficients in ground effect can be lower than those in free air. More details are available online through the NTSB's safety recommendations page here.