The plane, a single-engine Cherokee Piper 140, similar to this image crashed near Sechelt on July 5, 2018. (Wikimedia Commons/Alan Wilson)

Wind, heat, weight all factors in fatal B.C. plane crash: investigators

The pilot was killed and three passengers were hurt in the crash on the Sunshine Coast last summer

The Transportation Safety Board says no single factor led to the crash of a small plane that killed the pilot and slightly injured three passengers during a sight-seeing flight last year on the Sunshine Coast.

The unnamed pilot, who had more than 1,200 hours of flying time, died when his single-engine Piper Cherokee crashed into trees during a hot and gusty afternoon on July 5.

READ MORE: One dead after plane crash on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast

The passengers, an adult, a teenager and a four-year-old boy who were the pilot’s relatives, all survived.

The board’s accident report says the plane’s airspeed began to drop as soon as it lifted off and it wobbled before clipping trees less than 30 seconds later, crashing after crossing Chapman Creek at the far end of the runway.

Investigators say a tailwind at takeoff, a slight uphill slope of the runway and the aircraft at or near its maximum gross weight all played a role.

They also found the hot weather affected air density, making the engine work much harder to lift the heavy plane.

The TSB report notes that “local pilots report turbulence and downdrafts are common” over the creek, but it says the aviation document in effect for the Sechelt Aerodrome at the time of the accident is not required to note that detail and did not contain it.

“A pilot who had landed an hour before the accident experienced turbulence and downdrafts over Chapman Creek that were so severe that he radioed to warn another aircraft that was inbound for landing,” the report states.

Those conditions “may have further decreased the aircraft’s climb performance,” but the report says there are no warning signs at the aerodrome.

It concludes with a one-sentence safety message, advising that “pilots must remain vigilant to changes in the factors that can affect the performance of their aircraft.”

The report is described as a “limited-scope, fact-gathering investigation … to advance transportation safety through greater awareness of potential safety issues,” and does not “assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

MPs hear retired Penticton nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Oliver man sentenced to 18 months for two firearm offences

Waylon Faulhafer prohibited from possessing a firearm for life and issued DNA order

Rascal Flatts extend summer tour to Penticton

Rascal Flatts create a Forever Summer Playlist tour extending it into the fall

Penticton cyclist injured in hit-and-run in critical condition

Jesse Birkedal was injured in a hit-and-run while cycling on Eastside Road

RCMP spike belts help nab alleged Okanagan truck thieves

RCMP arrested two Kelowna men who attempted to evade two spike belts

Murray McLauchlan delights Okanagan crowd

Canadian music icon puts on wonderful two-hour show at Performing Arts Centre

Rose Valley Rd. fire in West Kelowna has now been extinguished

West Kelowna Fire Chief says first two grass fires Tuesday were human caused

Life’s work of talented Shuswap sculptor leads to leukemia

Former Salmon Arm resident warns of dangers of chemical contact

Shuswap car dealership seeks return of unique stolen Jeep

The red 1989 four-by-four was taken from Salmon Arm GM’s lot early Monday morning.

College investigates Okanagan physiotherapist

Stephen Witvoet’s matters are currently before the courts

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Public weighs in Okanagan rail trail parking development

“It was a great evening to interact with the community and hear the input for the property”

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read