NTSB releases final report on plane crash involving Travis Barker, DJ AM
By Logan Smith - email
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS/AP) - The National Transportation Safety Board on Friday released the final report on the 2008 plane crash in Columbia involving Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and celebrity DJ Adam Goldstein.
The NTSB discussed and voted on the conclusions during a meeting in Washington earlier this month. The report blames the crash outside the Columbia Metropolitan Airport on a combination of under-inflated tires and pilot error. However, the report also faults a design flaw in the Learjet which the board believes contributed to the accident, and even lays some blame on the Federal Aviation Administration.
[Click to read: Dashboard video shows fiery wreckage of plane crash]
Barker and DJ AM, also known as Adam Goldstein, had just finished a concert in Columbia's Five Points and were taking off in their chartered jet with two of Barker's staff members and two pilots on Sept. 19, 2008. As the plane hurtled down the runway at about 150 mph, all four tires exploded, and the brakes failed after pieces of the tires damaged the plane's hydraulic system.
The pilot tried to abort the takeoff even though the plane had already exceeded the speed at which the takeoff could be safely rejected. The jet crashed through a fence, crossed a five-lane highway, hit an embankment and was engulfed in flames.
Barker and Goldstein survived the fiery crash, but suffered severe burns. Four others died, including the pilot, co-pilot and two friends of the celebrity duo. Goldstein later died of a drug overdose in 2009.
[Slideshow: Photos from the scene of the Learjet crash]
According to the report, Barker and Goldstein told investigators the airplane was swaying back and forth and felt "out of control." One of the men also said the plane leaned to the right "almost like a wing had touched the ground."
According to the report, the NTSB determined the probable cause of the crash was inadequate maintenance of the airplane's tires, which resulted in multiple tire failures during takeoff due to severe under-inflation.
Investigators said the charter company that operated the plane, Global Exec Aviation, estimated the last time the pressure in the plane's tires had been checked was three weeks before the accident. But investigators also said the type of tires on the plane lose about 2 percent of their pressure a day and, if not maintained, would need to be replaced after eight days.
The report also blamed the captain's execution of a rejected takeoff, which was inconsistent with her training and standard operating procedures.
The NTSB report also lists a design flaw in the thrust reverser system which the board believes contributed to the crash. According to the report, the flaw "permitted the failure of critical systems in the wheel well area to result in uncommanded forward thrust that increased the severity of the accident."
The board also said the Federal Aviation Administration and Learjet Inc., a subsidiary of Bombardier Aerospace of Canada, weren't aggressive enough in trying to correct a design flaw involving the Learjet 60's thrust reversers, despite knowing the flaw played a role in a similar 2001 accident in Alabama in which two people were seriously injured.
Other contributing factors named in the report include inadequate training standards for flight crews in tire failure scenarios and the flight crew's poor crew resource management.
Barker and Goldstein's estates have settled their cases involving the crash for undisclosed terms. Relatives of Barker's assistant and bodyguard have also reached settlements with several companies, including Global Exec Aviation, ITAS Inc., which owned the plane, Learjet Inc. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Global Exec Aviation and ITAS have filed their own lawsuit against the plane's manufacturers, and the plane's owner has sued the Columbia Metropolitan airport.