NTSB Investigators Find CVR, FDR from Accident GIV

 - June 3, 2014, 3:43 PM

NTSB investigators located the cockpit voice and flight data recorders last night from the Gulfstream IV-SP that crashed at about 9:40 p.m. on Saturday while taking off from Runway 11 at Bedford Hanscom Field near Boston under FAR Part 91 operating rules. All seven aboard were killed, including passengers Lewis Katz (co-owner of the Gulfstream), Anne Leeds, Marcella Dalsey and Susan Asbell, and the three crewmembers–chief pilot James McDowell, copilot Bauke “Mike” de Vries and flight attendant Teresa Benhoff.

According to NTSB senior investigator Luke Schiada, the U.S.-registered GIV-SP–S/N 1399, manufactured in 2000 and registered as N121JM to SK Travel llc of Raleigh, N.C.–crashed into a ravine in a wooded area about 2,000 feet beyond the end of the runway along its extended centerline. An eyewitness told NTSB officials that the GIV-SP, which was departing for Atlantic City, N.J., never lifted off the ground. The aircraft was largely consumed in a post-crash fire.

The 15-person accident investigation team–which includes personnel from the NTSB, FAA, Gulfstream, Rolls-Royce and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch–will remain on site until this evening. Investigators have secured the aircraft maintenance and crew training records and are now collecting airport surveillance videos. According to Schiada, the CVR and FDR will be analyzed at the NTSB lab in Washington, D.C. He also said that McDowell had 18,500 flight hours and de Vries had 11,200 flight hours, and that the aircraft had logged 4,950 hours since new.


I am an aviation insurance adjuster, former Airline Captain, large bank corporate pilot and air ambulance pilot. The first thing I would check as an insurance adjuster is the sleep and rest history of the pilots "prior" to the flight to determine if fatigue played a role in the crash because flight tests and sleep research have proven a fatigued pilot flies as dangerously as a drunk pilot becasue fatigue causes the tired pilot to forget little items like setting the takeoff flaps correctly or to forget to remove gusts locks from the flight controls locked position making the plane impossible to rotate and takeoff. The USDOT only allows a commercal truck driver with a CDL license to be on duty for 14 hours. For example, if a big rig truck driver arrived at a truck terminal at 6 AM and is required to stay at the truck terminal until a trip is needed, the truck driver is not allowed to drive after 8 PM or 14 hours after arriving at the truck terminal at 6 AM. Ironically, the very same USDOT allows a pilot to be required to be at the airport at 6 AM and make one 1-hour flight and then be required to stay at the destination airport until the passengers return at 12 PM, or 18 hours later and then the USDOT allows the pilot to fly another 5-8 hours back home with passengers on board, for a total of 24 hours being on duty and flying without an uninterrupted rest period. An "uninterrupted" rest period is defined by the FAA as a time the pilot is not required to fly or to be ON CALL if a "possibility" for a flight arises unexpectedly. Scheduled Airline and On Demand Charter pilots are not allowed to fly after being ON CALL for 14 hours even if the pilot has not flown at all during the ON CALL period becasue the ON CALL period "interupts" the required 10 hour rest period. The same USDOT requires a CDL truck driver to have a required period of 8-10 hours of rest "prior" to even driving their personal big rig truck to the store for personal use to buy a soft drink. The same USDOT does not allow a commercial licensed truck driver to "reposition" or drive a big rig truck back to the home base after driving the truck for 14 hours to another terminal. Ironically, the very same USDOT allows an FAA Part 135 charter pilot or hospital air ambulance pilot flying Carolinas Healthcare air ambulance jets to fly for 14 hours to carrying patients from Charlotte NC, to Bermuda or other cities, but after dropping off a "paying" patient in California at the end of 14 hours of flying, the USDOT and FAA allows the Carolinas Healthcare pilot to fly for another 5+ hours to return to Carlotte, NC from California as long as the flight is conducted as an FAA Part 91 private "reposition" flight conducted as a "private business" flight even though there are flight nurses on board who are forced by the hospital to fly with fatigued pilots who have not had a rest period in the last 19 hours, because flight nurses are not considered "paying" passengers. Ironically, the same  USDOT restricts the hours a commercial truck driver can drive and "empty" truck because a fatigued truck driver is considered a danger to other family cars on the road even if the truck is not carrying a "paying" load. Ironically, the very same USDOT allows a FAA Part 135 charter pilot to fly for 24 hours without a rest period as long as the plane is not carrying "paying" passengers even though the plane is a danger to people on the ground even if the plane is empty and carrying no paying passengers nor a paying freight load. The big question for defense lawyers and family members suing the pilots and owners of crashed planes, is why does the USDOT and FAA restrict the number of hours a truck driver can drive an "empty" truck that is not carrying a "paying" load because the empty of full big truck is considered to be a danger to the driving public and family cars sharing same road as the big truck but the same USDOT has no restrictions on the number of hours a pilot can fly an empty plane or a plane with private, "non-paying" passengers even though the non-paying passenger's life is in danger and people, including children, in houses on the ground under the flight path can be killed by a plane piloted by a fatigued pilot who has not has a uninterrupted "rest period" in the last 24-30 hours. Ironically, the USDOT requires a commercial pilot flying "paying" passenger to use a 24-hour "look-back" to make sure that at every moment the pilot is manipulating the controls,  the pilot can look back into the preivious 24 hours and see a 10 hour "uninterrupted" rest period and not more than 14 hours of actually flying the plane or being on duty doing any paperwork preparing for a flight. Ironically, the USDOT does not require a commercial pilot flying a corporate owned plane to have a rest and duty requiremens at all. It seems reasonable and logical for the USDOT to regulate commercial pilots just like the USDOT regulates commercial truck drivers and require "uninteruptable" rest periods any time a commercial pilot is paid to fly a private plane or corporate plane, regardless of whether the passeners on the plane are paying for the flight, or flying as part of their bank or nurse job duties or are just guests on the plane at the invitation of the plane owner. The USDOT should be consistent with commercial truck driver and commercial pilot "uninterrupted" rest periods, since both a big truck and any small or large plane poses a danger to the public when operated by a fatigued operator being paid to operate the dangerous equipment.        

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