Plane & Pilot
Monday, March 1, 2004

Learning From Mistakes


The ASRS collects pilots’ admitted blunders so that others can gain knowledge from them



At 14:02, after several inquiries from the controller, the pilot radioed that he was 21.7 miles out from the airport and on an inbound track of 352. At 2:03, the controller inquired as to whether the pilot was still navigating toward GEG or going to try for COE. No response was received until 2:17:29, when the pilot radioed, in part, “On a heading to Coeur d’Alene of 020 and we’re 22 miles out.”

At 2:19:54, the pilot radioed the controller, “Spokane Center, could you give me the last weather for Coeur d’Alene?” This was the last known radio transmission from the pilot. Thirty seconds after the initiation of this last radio call, Spokane Approach Control received a brief ELT transmission coming from the airplane.

A witness traveling in his automobile east on a highway about a mile southeast of Freeman, Wash., reported seeing a Cessna aircraft between 2:00 and 2:15 p.m., on the afternoon of the accident. He reported the aircraft as being about 300 feet above the elevation of the highway and heading northeast. He reported that the aircraft was under the fog line and, then, it disappeared into the fog.

The NTSB determined that the probable cause of this accident was the pilot’s continued flight into instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing factors were fog, low ceilings, drizzle and mist, rising terrain and the non-availability of a functioning transponder.

Peter Katz is editor and publisher of NTSB Reporter, an independent monthly update on aircraft accident investigations and other news concerning the National Transportation Safety Board. To subscribe, write to: NTSB Reporter, Subscription Dept., P.O. Box 831, White Plains, NY 10602-0831.



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