WBUR

Recorders Indicate Hanscom Plane Aborted Takeoff

 Wreckage lay at the scene Monday in Bedford, where a private plane plunged down an embankment and erupted in flames during a takeoff attempt at Hanscom Field Saturday night. Seven people died in the crash. (Fred Thys/WBUR)

Wreckage lay at the scene Monday in Bedford, where a private plane plunged down an embankment and erupted in flames during a takeoff attempt at Hanscom Field Saturday night. Seven people died in the crash. (Fred Thys/WBUR)

BEDFORD, Mass. — The cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder recovered from the Gulfstream jet that crashed at Hanscom Field this weekend are revealing that the crew went through all the procedures necessary right up to the moment the plane should have taken off.

But at that point, the pilots aborted the takeoff.

Why the pilots aborted the takeoff remains a mystery. On the cockpit voice recorder, or CVR, the call to rotate is heard. That’s the call to pull back the controls so that the plane will climb.

“After the rotate call out, the CVR captured comments concerning aircraft control,” said Luke Schiada, the National Transportation Safety Board’s lead investigator into the crash. “The aircraft reached a maximum speed of about 165 knots [190 miles per hour].”

Schiada would not say what the comments about control of the aircraft were. He did reveal that the flight data recorder, or FDR, shows that the plane never left the ground.

“The aircraft did not lift off the runway,” Schiada said. “FDR data shows thrust reversers deploying and wheel brake pressures rising as the aircraft decelerates. Data ends about seven seconds after thrust reverser deployment, when the aircraft is at about 100 knots.”

So it appears that the pilots attempted to stop the aircraft. But investigators still don’t know why.

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  • rjf7r

    how does the runway length at Hanscom compare with where they typically operate?

  • Mark

    @rjf7r: The runway they were on, if I have the correct one, is just over 7000ft. From what I understand, that’s the same as what they’d have at Logan for a plane of that size.

    The article says that after the ‘rotate’ call out, the plane never left the ground and reverse thrusters were deployed. On the surface that sounds like the control failed when the pilot pulled back on it. I can’t imagine how scary….

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