The Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s final report on the 2011 crash of a Eurocopter AS355F2 cites spatial disorientation as one of the reasons the pilot lost control of the helicopter and crashed into terrain, killing all three people aboard. The helicopter was being operated under visual flight rules in an area east of Lake Eyre in South Australia, the lowest point in the country at 50 feet below sea level.
Spatial disorientation is the likely reason the pilot of a privately owned Robinson R44 helicopter lost control of the aircraft and crashed near southern Quebec’s Saint-Ferdinand Aerodrome in August 2011, according to the accident report issued by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). The private pilot and the three passengers aboard, all members of the pilot’s family, were killed in the nighttime accident.
Two crewmembers and five passengers aboard a Sikorsky S-92 operated in IMC by Cougar Helicopters were only 38 feet above the waters of the Atlantic Ocean when the pilot, having suffered a bout of spatial disorientation, regained control of the helicopter, according to a September 12 report from Canada’s Transportation Safety Board. The incident occurred on July 23, 2011, 217 miles southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Hawker Beechcraft King Air B200C, North Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands, Feb. 6, 2007–The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch ruled that human factors caused the crash of the British Overseas Territories-registered Super King Air.
Cessna 208B Caravan, Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 5, 2007–The NTSB blamed the crash of the cargo Caravan on “the pilot’s failure to maintain aircraft control...due to spatial disorientation.” Factors were the low ceiling and night conditions. The Caravan was topped off and de-iced after landing at Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK).
The UK civil aviation authority (CAA) is recommending prevention and mitigation action to reduce the number of helicopter accidents in poor visibility. Proposed improvements include pilot guidance on whether to fly and better handling qualities. Together, controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), spatial disorientation and loss of control form the largest single cause of small-helicopter fatal accidents in the UK.
A partial settlement has been reached in the Oct. 16, 2000 crash of the Cessna 335 that killed Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan and two others on board when the recip-twin crashed into the wooded hills south of St. Louis. Also on board where the governor’s son Randy, who was acting as pilot, and Chris Sifford, a campaign aide.
Gary Robb, an attorney with Robb & Robb of Kansas City, Mo., filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of the families of the deceased. It names Cessna Aircraft; Textron, Cessna’s parent company; Parker Hannifin; Sigma Tek; and Aeroflite, the maintenance provider. The defendants maintain that Randy Carnahan’s negligence led to the crash.
King Air 200, Strasburg, Colo., Jan. 27, 2001–At about 5:37 p.m. MST, King Air N81PF–owned by North Bay Charter and operated by Jet Express Services–crashed into rolling terrain near Strasburg. The twin turboprop departed from Jefferson County Airport (BJC) in Broomfield, Colo. at approximately 5:18 p.m. with two pilots and eight members and associated personnel of the Oklahoma State University basketball team.
Cessna 208B Caravan, Spanish Fort, Ala., Oct. 23, 2002–Despite speculation that a Mid-Atlantic Freight Caravan collided with another object (possibly a UAV), the NTSB determined that the cause of the crash was the 4,000-hour pilot’s spatial disorientation, which resulted in loss of control. Night IMC with variable cloud layers was a contributing factor.
- Page 1