February 22, 2006

Learning From a Local Crash

Over the weekend there was a non-fatal plane crash of a plane departing the airport I flew out of most recently. As you may recall, I visited Schaumburg Airport to check out the Northwest Aviation FBO. I found it to be a professional organization from which I will likely fly again (If the weather ever cooperates � that's another story).

On Sunday, an eighteen year-old student pilot with over 30 hours of flight time and his flight instructor took off from Schaumburg in a Piper Warrior. Shortly after takeoff, the plane experienced engine problems and they were forced to land on a nearby highway. Luckily, cars were able to clear the way but before they could successfully land on the highway, they clipped a light pole with a wing, making the plane land upside down. Both were able to escape from the plane without major injury.

For most pilots, their worst nightmare is to lose an engine right after takeoff before sufficient altitude has been gained to circle back for an emergency landing on the runway. It will be interesting to read the NTSB report when it comes out probably weeks or months from now to learn more about what might have caused the accident and if it could have been avoided.

Reading NTSB reports, especially for airports you fly from, can be very beneficial from a learning perspective. You can view NTSB reports by visiting the NTSB website. Their search engine allows you to find reports by specific criteria like a plane registration number, type of plane, city or state, etc.

I recommend reading reports for your airport so you can learn of environmental and other conditions that might lead to an accident therefore helping you avoid such situations. Additionally, reading about accidents in the type of aircraft you fly can be very beneficial.

Posted by at February 22, 2006 6:44 PM

I'm watching this one with great interest, too. One of the local stations, WLS or WGN I think had reported that the FBO op said the tanks were dry. The CFI has supposedly refuted this. Only the NSB will tell for sure. . . .

And yeah, I'm an NTSB junky, too. Interesting, informative, and scary stuff there. A prime example of what you're talking about is if you search accidents around C81 - Campbell in Grayslake. You'll see that some years ago a plane got strung up in the high tension lines about a mile south of the field (pretty much right under the downwind leg for 27). It really highlights the fact that you need to know the airport area and be mindful of your actual altitude, especially in low-vis conditions (that accident was at night).

Posted by: Oblivion at March 1, 2006 11:28 AM