Example #5 – July 23, 2009
Passenger transportation flight – 4 fatalities
A pilot with 645 hours total experience and 25 hours of night experience was making a short night airport to airport flight with three passengers in known marginal weather conditions. Before take off another company pilot reported to him that the rain had stopped, but that “miserable weather” prevailed and suggested that they could be driven the short distance (43 miles) by one of the passenger’s wives. While following a highway across a ridgeline, witnesses saw the aircraft make a 180-degree turn as if to escape the bad weather and strike wires.
Land and LIVE Factors:
Weather, night time, aircraft and pilot capabilities, decision making
This young pilot was likely eager to show the capabilities of the aircraft and get this flight completed. His passengers had waited already over an hour for the weather to improve (likely at his suggestions). Numerous alternative offers of transportation were refused by the pilot.
Read the NTSB probable cause narrative: ERA09FA417