BEDFORD -- Investigators reviewing the fatal plane crash at Hanscom Field recovered the sought-after cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder from the wreckage of the Gulfstrem IV Monday evening.
Luke Schiada, senior air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said in a Monday press conference it had been difficult for officials to find the key components because of where the plane came to rest.
At about 9:40 p.m. Saturday, seven people, including the flight crew, prepared for take off in the private jet of media and sports mogul Lewis Katz, who co-owned The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Daily News and Philly.com. The plane reportedly never left the ground while trying to get off the runway. It crashed into an antenna and fence before ending in a gully near the field in a fiery explosion, killing all seven people inside.
Fifteen investigators are working to review the case now, along with representatives from manufacturers including Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation and Rolls-Royce, which built the plane's engine. Schiada said these companies' involvement is "standard" in a case like this. The Air Accident Investigations Branch based in the UK is also playing a role since part of the plane was built there, according to Schiada.
Reporters in a press conference Monday afternoon asked about deer on the terminal grounds and pilot fatigue, but Schiada said he would not speculate at this point on what caused the crash.
"We're focusing on gathering factual information about the flight crew, their background, their experience," he added.
Authorities say the pilot -- identified as James McDowell, of Georgetown, Delaware -- logged 18,500 hours of total flight experience with the Federal Aviation Administration recently. The plane had nearly 4,950 hours of flight time and the first officer, who has been identified by family as Bauke "Mike" de Vries, 45, of Marlton, New Jersey, was reported to have about 11,000 hours.
Greg Raiff, an aviation expert who founded Private Jet Services Group out of Seabrook, N.H. in 2003, told The Sun the number of logged hours indicates both men were experienced. Raiff also noted about 5,000 hours of flight time for an aircraft is not much, given the plane is a 2000 model.
"At first glance, these are experienced professionals who should be trusted," Raiff said. "Obviously there's a lot more to it. How did two veteran, experienced pilots with almost 30,000 hours of time between them not get a plane off the runway?"
Investigators report they will review the plane's maintenance documents in the coming days and are also seeking surveillance videos from the attached Hanscom Air Force Base officals to learn more. Schiada said so far though he has not seen any footage that show's the crash "sequence."
Schiada added the facts still indicate this was an accident.
"That statement...," he said, "remains true."
The Middlesex County District Attorney's office reported Monday the state medical examiner continues to work to identify the final person removed from the plane, believed to be de Vries.
The flight attendant on the flight has been identified as Teresa Benhoff, 48, of Easton, Maryland. Katz was traveling with his friend Susan Asbell, of Cherry Hill, N.J., Marcella Dalsey, of Williamstown, N.J., and Anne Leeds, of Longport, N.J.
The flight crew that died in the crash had reportedly flown for the millionaire businessman and philanthropist Katz for a decade, and among them was a pilot who survived an earlier fatal crash, relatives said.
"I knew he was on a safe plane. I knew it was a well-maintained plane," said de Vries' wife, Shelly. "I know the other captain had a great, long history, (and) was also a mechanic."
Katz had gone to Concord on Saturday to attend an education-related event at the home of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin hours before the crash. He often would take spur-of-the-moment trips, and his crew was at the ready, according to friends.
The AP contributed to this report. The story is developing. Follow Samantha Allen on Twitter and Tout @SAllen_89.