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

Zoning mix-up nixes Shoreacres property sale

Man says the RDCK’s listings online don’t match his property’s official zoning

Castlegar coach receives Basketball BC honour

Cheryl Closkey recognized for 50 years of volunteering

Application deadline approaching for Castlegar-Embetsu exchange program

Student exchange program sees students travel to Japan every other year.

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

RED resort announces new ski lift

Topping lift will add new ski area to resort, reduce bottleneck on Motherload chair

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Baby left alone in vehicle in B.C. Walmart parking lot

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

College of the Rockies to add 96 beds for student housing in Cranbrook

$17.7 million project featuring six cottege-style buildings to be completed by 2020

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

Most Read