Today the National Transportation Safety Board (“the NTSB”) released its findings concerning a plane crash which occurred two years ago, during August, 2015. Investigators expressed the hope their report would improve the safety of air travel. By carefully analyzing the details of past accidents, the NTSB seeks to inform and educate pilots.
In late August, 2015 an Aviat A-1C-200 carrying a pilot and one passenger flew over the Snake River near Irwin, Idaho at a low elevation. The plane’s landing gear struck a wire which extended across the river not far from the Palisades Dam. According to the NTSB report, the accident caused the entangled wire to extend in a manner similar to a “bungee cord” before snapping. A portion of the broken wire remained connected to the aircraft.
After the collision, the pilot veered to the right and successfully landed the small plane in the river. The aircraft upended on its nose. Fortunately, both the pilot and the passenger managed to extricate themselves from the cabin, and they reached the river bank unhurt. The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office secured the area and helped remove the wreckage from the Snake River.
The Hazards of Low-Lying Obstacles
As a result of the 2015 accident, the small plane suffered extensive mechanical damage. Investigators found damage to the tail assembly, as well as both wings and the fuselage (the main body of the aircraft). The pilot attributed the accident to his failure to observe power lines extending across the river. The NTSB report concurred with this conclusion. It noted the failure to clear a low-lying obstacle had resulted in the crash.
The August, 2015 mishap highlights the very real dangers when pilots flying close to the ground fail to detect obstacles in an aircraft’s flight path. Power lines, tree branches, and signage may all obstruct airplanes at very low elevations. The wire which became attached to the small craft’s landing gear shortly before the crash near Irwin ultimately caused significant damage to the airplane.
Accident Analysis to Promote Air Safety
Aviation experts in many locations around the world today pay close attention to accidents in developing regulations governing pilots and air safety. For instance, just recently, the government of Guyana ordered that nation’s Civil Aviation Authority to conduct more frequent random inspections after three plane crashed in Guyana during a single month.