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Sarina Houston

Gulfstream Faulted for 2011 Crash

By October 17, 2012

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In a statement on October 10th, the NTSB announced a probable cause for the G650 crash that occurred last year.

The details might be unsettling for some: The NTSB has found that Gulfstream is at fault, citing a poor safety culture and a race to meet deadlines that probably interfered with the team's duties to "recognize and correct errors" in test flight data. In addition, the statement criticizes Gulfstream for failing to conduct a proper investigation on previous uncommanded roll events, as well as an "aggressive test flight schedule" and ambiguous team member roles and responsibilities.


Obviously saddened by the loss of crewmembers, Gulfstream has assumed responsibility for the accident. And it doesn't seem like they've lost much time. The new, fully approved G650 is scheduled to roll out to its first customer by the end of the year (possibly at the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention . The company now has at least 200 orders for the G650 -- and a whole new safety culture. Gulfstream is rumored to have dismissed a person or two after the NTSB findings, and claims to have rebuilt the company's safety program and culture as a whole.

I can't help but be disappointed in Gulfstream. But I'm also reminded that flight testing is a dangerous job. It is a test of the aircraft's limits, after all. I do know this: An accident that is preventable with basic safety systems is hard to accept.

What's your opinion? Did Gulfstream miss the mark with regards to safety culture? Is flight testing inherently dangerous to the point that accidents are almost acceptable?


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