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September 10, 2015

Investigators blame pilot error for deadly jet crash near Boston

Investigators blame pilot error for deadly jet crash near Boston

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

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The US federal National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) yesterday concluded a “series of errors” by flight crew caused a business jet crash near Boston, Massachusetts last year. Seven were killed when the Gulfstream IV overran a runway.

Cquote1.svg I can’t stop it Cquote2.svg

—Pilot de Vries, seconds from impact

The NTSB found the pilots failed to conduct preflight checks, mistakenly took off with flight control systems locked in position, and then failed to abort takeoff until too late. Manufacturer Gulfstream was criticised for an inadequate safety system; the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was accused of failing to properly check the system before certifying the aircraft.

On the evening of May 31 the passengers and crew were returning from Hanscom Field to Atlanta International Airport. Pilot Bauke “Mike” de Vries and co-pilot James McDowell each had thousands of hours’ experience, and had flown together for years. They skipped over preflight checks; the NTSB found this was routine for the pair.

The plane set off with the gust lock engaged. This system, which is intended to be disconnected before engine startup, locks various flight control surfaces in position on the ground. Unable to takeoff, it overshot the runway, crashing through airport equipment and a fence, before landing in a watery ravine and bursting into flames. Nobody survived.

A US Government Gulstream IV, from file.
Image: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

De Vries says several times “lock is on” on the voice recording, adding “I can’t stop it” moments before the crash. Gulfstream had installed a mechanism to prevent the throttle fully moving when gust lock was engaged, to give pilots a clear early warning something was amiss.

The NTSB found the throttle could still be pushed far enough to reach takeoff speed. The FAA had certified the system based on technical drawings. The NTSB said the FAA process was “inadequate” because there were no “engineering certification tests or analysis[…] to verify that the system had met its regulatory requirements.” Gulfstream say they are working with the FAA to rectify the issue.

The NTSB says it took ten seconds from noticing the problem before the crew began braking and another four seconds to power down the engines. The NTSB believes doing both within eleven seconds would have brought the flight to a halt on the runway.

The lock was applied upon landing six hours earlier. The flight was carrying four passengers, including entrepreneur and philanthropist Lewis Katz, back from a fundraiser. The seventh fatality was a flight attendant. Katz had co-engineered an $88 million takeover deal for the Philadelphia Inquirer four days earlier.

The Katz family later sold his stake in the paper to a business partner. Katz had hoped to boost the paper’s reputation.

“Complacency does not have a place in the cockpit of any aircraft”, NTSB Vice Chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr said. The probe found skipped checks on 98% of the prior 175 flights the pilots undertook together. “If you’re acting that way, you are just fooling yourself,” said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt, who has 32 years of commercial flight experience.


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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

May 4, 2005

U.S. newspaper circulation continues 20-year slide

U.S. newspaper circulation continues 20-year slide

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Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Circulation figures dropped an average 1.9% among 814 U.S. newspapers according to research by the Newspaper Association of America industry group. The drop, which continues a 20-year declining trend, is one of the worst 6 month slips since a 1984 circulation peak.

Factors such as cable TV and the Internet are named as challengers in the competition for reader attention. Also contributing are scandal-driven changes in the way circulation is calculated. Concerns over the credibility of circulation figures given by some newspapers have gripped the industry and caused 3 of the top-twenty papers to have their figures excluded from the report [see below]. A paper’s circulation is the key figure looked at by advertisers when making spending decisions.

Posting slight increases were two rare circulation gainers USA Today and The New York Times. Many papers said drops were partly due to intentional distribution cuts, such as to hotels and schools for example. Another cause was that circulation drives were less successful due to the US National do-not-call registry hampering telemarketer ability to contact potential subscribers.

USA TOP 20 PAPERS
Average daily circulation of the nation’s 20 biggest newspapers for the six months ended March 31, as reported Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The percentage changes are from the comparable year-ago period.
1. USA Today, 2,281,831, up 0.05%
2. Wall Street Journal, 2,070,498, down 0.8%
3. New York Times, 1,136,433, up 0.2%
4. Los Angeles Times, 907,997, down 6.5% (a)
5. Washington Post, 751,871, down 2.7%
6. New York Daily News, 735,536, down 1.5%
7. New York Post, 678,086, up 0.01%
8. Chicago Tribune, 573,744, down 6.6%
9. Houston Chronicle, 527,744, down 3.9% (a)
10. San Francisco Chronicle, 468,739, down 6.1% (a)
11. Arizona Republic, 452,016, down 3.2% (a)
12. Boston Globe, 434,330, down 3.9%
13. Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., 394,767, down 1.6%
14. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 391,373, down 2.4%
15. Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul, 378,316, up 0.33% (a)
16. Philadelphia Inquirer, 364,974, down 3% (a)
17. Plain Dealer, Cleveland, 348,416, down 5.2% (a)
18. Detroit Free Press, 347,447, down 2.0%
19. St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, 337,515, down 3.2% (a)
20. The Oregonian, Portland, 335,980, down 1.8%
Newsday of New York’s Long Island; the Dallas Morning News; the Chicago Sun-Times and Hoy, a Spanish-language newspaper in New York, were not allowed to include their circulation figures as a penalty for misstating figures in the past. The first three were among the top 20 a year ago.
(a) Includes Saturday circulation.
  • Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations (reported by Chicago Sun-Times)



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See also

  • “U.S. communications watchdog revisits do-not-call registry” — Wikinews, April 19, 2005


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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