SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board has been released on a Gulfstream G650 crash that happened during a test flight last year that killed four Savannah residents.
It happened April 2, 2011 in Roswell, New Mexico. Experimental test pilots Kent Crenshaw and Vivan Ragusa and technical specialists David McCollum and Reece Ollenburg died in the April 2 accident.
The aircraft had experienced some unexpected stall of the right wing during takeoff. Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. outlined seven factors that contributed to the crash.
"Gulfstream concludes that the unsteady airspeed, when coupled with the incorrect takeoff speed schedule, may have been a contributing factor to the accident," according to the NTSB report.
The report detailed the crash path of the aircraft and how it came apart. Read full report.
When the plane crashed, its main landing gear collapsed and separated from the airplane, the nose gear remained underneath it, according to the report.
A fire started under one wing and then the other. The plane slid through the grass next to the runway and across the taxiway, it hit a concrete electrical shaft, which ruptured the right wing fuel tank, according to the report. That's when it ignited and the plane caught on fire. The plane continued to slide and hit a weather station, which ruptured the left wing fuel tank. The fire started at the wings, moved forward and intensified and the plane kept going.
The airplane stopped within about 15 seconds of hitting the ground. Fire then quickly consumed the front of the airplane. Gulfstream employees saw the plane pass in front of them and ATC tower personnel saw the plane skidding toward them and finally stop several hundred feet in front of the tower, according to the report.
Two of the four emergency exit doors over the wing came off of the plane.
Crew members survived the initial impact, but smoke, fire and extreme temperatures in the cabin immediately overcame the crew as they tried to get out of their seats, the report determined.