Texas GIII crew had VOR, not ILS, tuned

 - January 30, 2007, 7:05 AM

Cockpit voice recorder (CVR) transcripts indicate that the pilots of the Gulfstream III that crashed in IMC November 22 after being cleared for the Runway 4 ILS approach at Houston Hobby Airport had the VOR frequency tuned instead of the ILS. The Part 135 flight was on its way to pick up former President George H.W. Bush. According to the CVR, about 45 seconds before the crash, the pilot said, “Oh my, what’d you do to me? Whoa (expletive), what happened: Did you change my frequency?” The copilot replied, “We had the, the VOR freq, the VOR frequency was on.” The crew did not break off the approach but continued descending after resetting the frequencies. “We’re all squared away now,” said the copilot. “Yeah but I, I don’t know if I can get back on it, in time,” said the pilot. “Yeah you will,” the copilot said. “You’re squared away now.” A moment later, the tower called the aircraft at the same time the copilot said, “Up, up, up, up, up, up, up.” The last words on the CVR are those of the tower completing its call: “Check your altitude. Altitude indicates 400 feet.” Less than a second later and still more than three miles from the runway, the aircraft clipped a 125-foot-tall tower, crashed and burned, killing the two pilots and flight attendant.