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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

Beefs & Bouquets, June 3

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Provincial funding will help Regional District of Nanaimo create poverty reduction strategy

RDN partnering with Nanaimo, Lantzville, Qualicum and Islands Trust on regional project

Parcel stolen from front porch, Nanaimo RCMP looking for suspect

Unidentified woman allegedly stole package containing $400 smart watch

Police look for suspect after alleged assault at gas station in Nanaimo

Victim says he was punched in the head several times in late April at business in South Wellington

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Vancouver Island school principal mourns family killed during U.S. protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo’s Rocky Point

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Most Read