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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-12-061
Synopsis: On April 2, 2011, about 0934 mountain daylight time, an experimental Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation GVI (G650), N652GD, crashed during takeoff from runway 21 at Roswell International Air Center, Roswell, New Mexico. The two pilots and the two flight test engineers were fatally injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged by impact forces and a postcrash fire. The airplane was registered to and operated by Gulfstream as part of its G650 flight test program. The flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
Recommendation: TO THE FLIGHT TEST SAFETY COMMITTEE: Encourage members to provide notice of and coordinate high-risk flight tests with airport operations and aircraft rescue and firefighting personnel.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: Roswell, NM, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: DCA11MA076
Accident Reports: Crash During Experimental Test Flight, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation GVI (G650), N652GD
Report #: AAR-12-02
Accident Date: 4/2/2011
Issue Date: 10/23/2012
Date Closed: 7/20/2016
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Flight Test Safety Committee (Closed - Acceptable Action)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Flight Test Safety Committee
Date: 7/20/2016
Response: We note that, based on comments that we supplied to you last year, you completed a comprehensive revision of “Checklist for Coordinating Fire/Crash/rescue Requirements for Offsite Flight Test Operations,” which had been posted in the Best Practices section of the FTSC website. We reviewed the revised document, now titled “Airport and Emergency Response Coordination for Flight Test Operations: Recommended Practices and Notification Checklist,” and found that it contains the recommended guidance. Consequently, Safety Recommendation A 12 61 is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: Flight Test Safety Committee
Date: 4/15/2016
Response: -From Gerald W. Whites, Chairman, Flight Test Safety Committee: The NTSB response of 18 Jun 2015 noted that there was a critical step missing from the first version of the "Checklist for Coordinating Fire/Crash/rescue Requirements For Offsite Flight Test Operations" - specifically, " ... provide notice of and coordinate high-risk flight tests with airport operations and ARFF personnel." The FTSC completed a comprehensive revision to this product now entitled: "Airport and Emergency Response Coordination for Flight Test Operations: Recommended Practices and Notification Checklist." This document now has one page of guidance material and a "countdown" style checklist that is more concise and can be uniquely tailored to suite the test site. Recognizing that elevated risk testing may be conducted at home-base as well as off-site, the FTSC was compelled to include all necessary liaisons when conducting test events at any airfield. Moreover, the FTSC provided a best-practice recommendation to coordinate testing with other airspace controlling agencies, as appropriate, to identify SAR assets and shrink response time. The FTSC is seeking closure of this recommendation.

From: NTSB
To: Flight Test Safety Committee
Date: 6/18/2015
Response: In our investigation of the April 2, 2011 accident in Roswell, we found that Gulfstream had not advised Roswell airport operations or ARFF that some of the flight tests were classified as high risk nor had they indicated when these high-risk flight tests would occur. If airport operations and ARFF had been notified about upcoming high-risk flight tests before they were conducted, airport operations could have (1) ensured that adequate ARFF resources were available and (2) taken actions to increase readiness, such as staging vehicles and personnel in locations where they could respond more quickly to an accident. After the accident, Gulfstream added a requirement for high risk test flights that local ARFF support be “in position” outside the fire station to allow for an expeditious response in the event of an accident. We issued Safety Recommendation A-12-61 to ensure that other flight test organizations would adopt a requirement similar to Gulfstream’s. We note that, on April 3, 2015, you uploaded “Checklist For Coordinating Fire/Crash/Rescue Requirements For Offsite Flight Test Operations” to the Best Practices section of the FTSC website, and you believe that doing so satisfies Safety Recommendation A-12-61. Although our review of the checklist showed it to be a valuable and useful document, it is missing an item?to provide notice of and coordinate high-risk flight tests with airport operations and ARFF personnel. Pending your inclusion of this item in the checklist, Safety Recommendation A-12-61 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Flight Test Safety Committee
Date: 11/25/2014
Response: -From Gerald Whites, Chairman, Flight Test Safety Committee: Several manufacturer test organizations have produced quick reference guides for airport first-responders that detail normal and emergency aircraft entry, critical component location, and unique test aircraft cabin configurations. Prior to the commencement of test, many organizations stipulate a briefing be provided to rescue crews to identify key safety features and abnormal access methods (such as external “cut here” markings). As with the other NTSB recommendation actions herewith, the Committee intends to provide sample guides on the FTSD and recommend notification to test site operations officials and rescue personnel as part of test execution pre-deployment checklist. The Committee considers this action OPEN pending the posting of recommended aircraft familiarization and rescue guides to the FTSD (estimated completion: Mar 2015). In summary, the FTSC is an all-volunteer committee that is part of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) Foundation (501c(3) not-for-profit) chartered to enhance flight test safety through professional enrichment and industry-wide collaboration. The Committee is comprised of industry experts, manufacturer flight test safety representatives, and FAA/EASA flight test experienced personnel. Components of the NTSB recommendations are already being exercised, and with improvements to the FTSD resource center, the tools will be easily accessed and scalable to all flight test activities. The Committee is encouraged by increasing participation and collaboration among OEMs to share and embrace best practices that will ensure flight test risks are continually mitigated to the maximum extent practicable.

From: NTSB
To: Flight Test Safety Committee
Date: 10/3/2014
Response: In January 2014, NTSB staff spoke informally to some members of the FTSC regarding actions that you had planned to take in response to these recommendations. We are interested in knowing whether and how our recommendations are implemented, both to ensure that the traveling public is provided the highest level of safety and to identify creative solutions that might be shared with others. Our recipients usually complete actions to implement our safety recommendations within 3 to 5 years of issuance. As these recommendations were issued almost 2 years ago, and to date we have received no formal reply from you regarding actions that you have either taken or planned in response to them, we would appreciate receiving a response within 90 days indicating such actions. Pending your timely reply, Safety Recommendations A 12 59 through 61 will retain their current classification of OPEN—AWAIT RESPONSE.