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

Drag races could return to Stamp Ave in Port Alberni in 2019

Thunder in the Valley might not return to the Alberni Valley Regional Airport this year

Climbers scale Canada’s tallest waterfall in the Alberni Valley

Ice climbers Chris Jensen, Will Gadd and Peter Hoang made history

Port Alberni poet shortlisted for B.C. award

Port Alberni’s Derek Hanebury is a former instructor at North Island College

Indigenous youth connect with their culture at Gathering Our Voices workshops

Secluded Wellness Centre in Port Alberni hosted traditional wildcraft sessions

Illegal cannabis club in Port Alberni ticketed again

RCMP seize cannabis, issue fine for second time in five months

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

Most Read