With NTSB officials acknowledging that control locks are one area of focus in their investigation of the May 31 crash of a Gulfstream IV at Bedford-Hanscom Field Airport near Boston, several active GIV pilots have shared their own standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the equipment with AIN.
On June 13, Gulfstream issued a maintenance and operations letter to GIV operators reminding pilots of the importance of following airplane flight manual (AFM) procedures. “Flight crews are reminded to perform the following as set forth in the applicable AFM procedures for each model aircraft: ensure the gust lock is OFF prior to starting engines (not applicable for G650); check flight controls for freedom and correct movement prior to taxi/takeoff; [and] confirm the elevators are free during the takeoff roll,” said the letter from the manufacturer, which is not responding to media questions about the accident pending the NTSB investigation.
One GIV pilot based in Asia told AIN, “Our SOPs [also] say do not start engines with the control lock on.” While the engines can be cranked with the locks in place, this same pilot warned that if the engines were started that way, the safest next step would be to shut both engines down and begin again. He did not recommend attempting to disconnect the control lock once the engines are turning. When questioned about the possibility of accidentally engaging the locks, the pilot said, “Engaging the control lock is not a casual maneuver. It takes effort.”