Testing the Limits: The crash of Gulfstream Aerospace flight 153

Gulfstream G650 N652GD burns over following the crash at Roswell International Air Center. (AOPA)
A promotional photo for a Gulfstream G650. (Paramount Business Jets)
N652GD, the aircraft involved in the accident. (Gulfstream)
The three limiting scenarios for an aircraft’s minimum allowable takeoff distance. (FAA)
The definition of VMU, and how it is tested. (Airbus)
It’s a lot of definitions to remember, so here’s a flash card. (Own work)
An undated photo of the First Flight Test Engineer.* (The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)
How a stall works. (DW)
The relationship between angle of attack in ground effect and in free air. (NTSB)
The arrows point to the pitch limit indicator as it appears on a Boeing 737. On the Gulfstream G650 the appearance was similar. (Aviation Stack Exchange users)
The test runs conducted on the day of the accident, designated flight 153. Note how none of them achieved V2. (NTSB)
From the left to right: Kent Crenshaw, Vivan Ragusa, David McCollum, and The First Flight Test Engineer. (Ahmed Reghab)
The trajectory of the plane during the ill-fated takeoff. (FlightGlobal)
N652GD burns over following the crash. (AOPA)
A bird’s eye view of the crash scene reveals the extent of the damage. (NTSB)
The intense fire left no time for the crew to escape. (NTSB)
Another view of the wreckage and wreckage trail. (NTSB)
The wing demonstrates how little damage the plane actually suffered prior to the blaze. (NTSB)
The plane came to a stop less than 100 meters from the control tower. (NTSB)
If the plane hadn’t hit the concrete sign, breaching the fuel tanks, it’s quite probable that the crew would have survived. (NTSB)
In a presentation about the accident at a Flight Test Safety workshop in 2013, two Gulfstream engineers included some quotes they felt were relevant to the situation. (Jake Howard and Paul Donovan)
A Gulfstream G650 ER (Extended Range) flies over the ocean. (Gulfstream)



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Admiral Cloudberg

Admiral Cloudberg


Analyzer of plane crashes and author of upcoming book (eventually™). Contact me via @Admiral_Cloudberg on Reddit or by email at kylanddempsey@gmail.com.