Studying Accidents – A Learning Experience
I think it is a good idea to study past aviation accidents to learn valuable lessons unfortunately taught through the mistakes of others. Just today I came across a news story of a plane crash in Houston. Here is the original news story. Sadly, three people in the plane lost their lives. Here is a photo of the plane after it crashed into a car:
From the photo I saw that this was a Cirrus SR20, and googling the tail number gave me a FlightAware ADS-B track left by the plane during its journey before the crash. The very last entry shows an airspeed of 55kts. Here is the final path of the plane:
The final airspeed/altitude entries listed by FlightAware are as follows:
The flight path and the altitudes suggest to me that the pilot made several failed attempts to land and after the final attempt, caused a power-on stall at 400 feet of altitude that he could not recover from. Now, I am just a student pilot, and I am not second-guessing anyone, least of all the dead, but this makes it even more important in my mind to go through all the training procedures that I am covering, over and over again. One of the exercises in learning to fly a plane is to handle a low-speed stall and a power-on stall. The latter is precisely what may happen when a landing is aborted and the pilot applies full power to go around and pitches the plane’s nose into a climbing attitude, causing the airspeed to drop below stall level. Its very sad that we get such examples of why we study and practice what we practice, over and over again. Fly safe!
UPDATE 07/05/2016: I came across the LiveATC audio of this specific flight and am including it here for educational purposes
Warning: this YouTube video contains a surveillance camera’s capture of the actual crash – right as the plane crashed down into a car parked in a small lot. The most interesting thing about the actual impact is the fact that the plane come almost straight down in a horizontal, flat attitude. The only thing positive to come from this tragedy is a very big lesson to everyone learning to fly.
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