Example #4 – March 25, 2010
EMS Repositioning Flight – 3 Fatalities
The accident pilot had delivered a patient to a hospital at end of a night shift. The relieving pilot communicated with the accident pilot about an approaching line of thunderstorms. Estimating that he had 18 minutes to return to the base, the accident pilot advised that he intended to leave the nurses at the hospital in order to expedite. The nurses were able to get on board anyhow. The pilot flew into the leading edge of a line of fast moving (61 knots) thunderstorms and crashed 2.5 miles east of the home base.
Land and LIVE Factors:
Plan Continuation Bias,Weather and possibly fatigue
Sometimes things go from bad to unmanageable too quickly to make a decision to land and live – such may be the case flying into the leading edge of a thunderstorm, something the pilot would probably never have done had he not been SO CLOSE to his base. This pilot was probably determined to get back to base, end his shift, get in his own car and drive home.
Read the NTSB probable cause narrative: ERA10MA188