GULFSTREAM LEARNS FROM THE ANALYSIS OF 2011 CRASH AND ADOPTS NEW APPROACH TO ITS TESTING PROTOCOLS

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ARTICLE: Gulfstream crash: The right approach

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In this period of aviation safety in which data and trends push the regulator and the regulated to anticipate/prevent problems before they occur, it is unfortunate when a major manufacturer has to respond to a tragic accident. The NTSB found that Gulfstream failed to properly assess warning signs from previous test flights and the consequence was the April 2, 2011 crash. As NTSB Chair said:

“Two prior close calls should have prompted a yellow flag, but instead of slowing down to analyze what had happened, the program continued full speed ahead…In this investigation, we saw an aggressive flight test schedule and pressure to get the aircraft certified. Assumptions and errors were made, but they were neither reviewed nor evaluated when review data was collected.”

Gulfstream took full responsibility for the accident and revised its testing process to incorporate more safeguards to prevent a repeat of this failure. The most prominent change is the appointment of an aviation safety official, who reports directly to Gulfstream’s president. The company’s press release stated:

“Safety is Gulfstream’s first priority. Since this accident, we have redoubled our efforts to strengthen the safety culture in flight test and throughout the rest of the company. We are committed to continuous safety improvement.”

It is the mark of a well managed company to acknowledge when it has made a mistake and to take corrective action. Hopefully, Gulfstream’s new safety culture will scrutinize the data like that recorded before the 2011 accident and that the company’s new approach will proactively address the problems inherent therein. While delay in testing will result in financial consequences, they pale in comparison to the loss of four lives.

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