By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A series of errors by the pilots: that’s what federal investigators say is the likely cause of the crash last year in Massachusetts that claimed the lives of seven people, including Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner and philanthropist Lewis Katz.
It’s supposed to be routine for pilots. “Before every takeoff, for whatever airplane you’re flying, a flight control check should be done,” says the NTSB’s Robert Sumwalt.
Sumwalt says those in the cockpit of the Gulfstream business jet failed to do so in all but 2 of their previous 175 flights. Had they before this trip, Sumwalt says they would have realized a wind gust locking system was still on.
“From my perspective, it’s just plain and simple a case of pilots intentionally disregarding procedures,” Sumwalt said.
As lawyers involved in lawsuits over the crash now get their hands on the wreckage, the plane manufacturer — at the behest of the NTSB — is fixing that locking mechanism so pilots wouldn’t be able to attempt takeoff if it’s left on.
Still, Sumwalt laments that the Federal Aviation Administration won’t be able to mandate that fix for up to a year.