Lawsuit Blames Crew for Fatal GIII Crash

 - January 10, 2007, 5:10 AM

A wrongful-death suit was filed yesterday by the family of the flight attendant killed in the Nov. 22, 2004, crash of a Gulfstream III on a positioning leg to pick up former president George H.W. Bush. Named as defendants are, among others, Dallas charter operator Business Jet Services and the estates of the two deceased pilots. Minutes after the Gulfstream had been being cleared for the ILS approach to Runway 4 at Houston Hobby Airport, its wing clipped a light tower 3.25 miles from the end of the runway and about 150 feet agl. The lawsuit accuses the pilots of being “grossly negligent” and making “numerous basic errors,” and not taking corrective action “even after recognizing they were not using the correct navigation radios.” According to CVR transcripts, it does appear that the pilots initially had a VOR tuned in, not the ILS frequency. Less than a minute before the aircraft hit the tower, the crew became aware of the problem and presumably switched to the ILS frequency. However, the tower relayed an altitude alert, after which the copilot said, “up, up, up, up, up, up, up,” the last words on the CVR. The NTSB has not yet issued a probable cause for the accident. Business Jet Services did not return a call seeking comment.