Gulfstream G650 test aircraft crashes in New Mexico

Four Gulfstream employees were killed when a G650 test aircraft crashed during takeoff-performance tests in Roswell, N.M.

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Business jet manufacturer Gulfstream (Savannah, Ga., USA) reported on April 2 that one of its Gulfstream G650 aircraft crashed that morning during takeoff-performance tests in Roswell, N.M., USA. Two test pilots and two flight test engineers on board were killed. All were employees of Gulfstream.

The pilots were Kent Crenshaw, 64, and Vivan Ragusa, 51. The test engineers were David McCollum, 47, and Reece Ollenburg, 48. All four were residents of Savannah.

“We mourn the loss of our colleagues and friends and extend our deepest sympathies to their families,” said Joe Lombardo, president, Gulfstream. “The Gulfstream team has already rallied to support the people these men left behind, and we know that the local and aviation communities will do the same. On their behalf, we ask for your kindness, support and understanding as they, and the rest of the Gulfstream family, grieve the passing of these fine professionals.”

Enthusiast aircraft website EAA spoke with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and reported on April 3: “The aircraft had been in the pattern for a couple of hours before the crash, conducting braking tests. This involved several takeoffs and landings. The plane had just lifted off when the right wing struck the concrete,” FAA spokesperson Lynn Lunsford told EAA. “The plane hit the ground again and the landing gear collapsed. It slid to a stop about 40 ft [12.2m] from the control tower. The aircraft was destroyed by fire.”

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.

The G650 is notable for its vertical tail, the first on a business jet made of thermoplastic composites. The plane also features thermoplastic composite flooring. (See links at right.) The G650 was expected to be certified later this year with first deliveries next year. Five test aircraft have been flying.

Information: Click here for full EAA report.