Gulfstream Suspends G650 Flight Tests in Wake of Crash

 - April 5, 2011, 10:00 AM

The NTSB is leading the investigation into Saturday’s fatal crash of Gulfstream G650 S/N 6002 during “performance tests” at Roswell (N.M.) International Air Center Airport. Those killed in the accident were test pilots Kent Crenshaw, 64, and Vivan Ragusa, 51, as well as technical specialists David McCollum, 47, and Reece Ollenburg, 48. Immediately following the accident, Gulfstream elected to temporarily suspend the flight activities of its four remaining G650 test aircraft. The Safety Board issued an update yesterday ahead of its preliminary report, saying wingtip scrape marks were found approximately 5,000 feet from the takeoff end of Roswellπs 13,001-foot Runway 21, and ending at the twinjetπs resting place approximately 3,000 feet away, some 200 feet from the base of the control tower. “Immediately after takeoff, the right wing struck the ground,” an FAA spokesman told AIN, adding that the landing gear collapsed after the jet hit the ground. According to witnesses, the aircraft slid across the ground, issuing sparks and smoke, and caught fire while it was still moving. It came to a stop upright near the airport’s control tower and its fuselage was consumed by fire. It took the airport fire and rescue crew more than 15 minutes after their arrival on scene to extinguish the blaze. S/N 6002 first flew in February last year and was the second of five G650s being used for certification testing. According to Gulfstream, S/N 6002 was being used to evaluate the aircraftπs systems as well as its takeoff and landing performance. The manufacturer told the FAA the purpose of the accident flight was to conduct tests of the braking systems. Parties to the NTSB investigation include the FAA, Gulfstream, Parker Aerospace, Rolls-Royce Engines and the German aircraft accident investigation bureau (BFU) since the aircraft’s engines were manufactured in Germany.