Doomed Jet's Pilots Reported 'Aircraft Control' Problem: NTSB

The pilots of a private jet that crashed near Boston over the weekend reported a control problem just before the plane ran off the runway and exploded in flames, according to investigators who described the cockpit voice recorder transcript Tuesday.

The twin-engine Gulfstream IV jet crashed Saturday night with Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz and six others aboard while trying to take off from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass.

But the aircraft didn’t leave the ground before running off the end of the runway, said Luke Schiada, senior air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.

Schiada said preliminary information from the cockpit recorder and the flight data recorder showed that during the takeoff attempt, the pilots called out 80 knots and V1 — the minimum speed necessary for takeoff.


Then, as the aircraft accelerated to 165 knots, the recorder captured comments about "aircraft control," Schiada said. The flight data showed that the thrust reversers were deployed and pressure rose in the wheel brakes, he said.

It wasn’t enough. The aircraft, still traveling at 100 knots, hurtled 2,000 feet off the end of the runway, plunged into a gully and burst into flames. The flight data recorder’s data ended seven seconds after the thrust reversers were deployed, Schiada said.

The crash killed Katz, who once owned the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, and six other people who were traveling with him to Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey.

Schiada said that the engines had been removed from the crash scene but that other key parts of the aircraft remained there.

He stressed that the information released Tuesday was preliminary and that investigators would create a complete transcript of all audio communication by the flight crew and of any sounds in the background.

— Gil Aegerter