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Resource ID: #27550
Less than a week after multimillionaire businessman Lewis Katz consolidated his ownership of The Philadelphia Inquirer in a high-stakes auction, he and six others were killed in a fiery takeoff crash of his Gulfstream G-IV. One month before the National Transportation Safety Board publicly issued its findings, The Inquirer put the readers inside the cockpit for the takeoff roll's crucial last seconds as the pilots boosted the plane's speed far above its reputed design limit - and then lost precious moments trying to electronically free the elevator, rather than simply aborting the takeoff. Early reports focused on a lack of required safety checks by the pilots. But that did not account for a central mystery - the plane's fail-safe system did not prevent the jet from reaching takeoff speed despite their error. The newspaper found that a flaw in the jet's “gust lock” system - meant to keep the plane's elevators locked when a jet is parked - allowed the pilots to reach takeoff speed but unable to get lift, a deadly combination.