If you’ve ever heard a nagging little voice somewhere in your head saying, “I shouldn’t be making this flight,” this accident just might be the thing that causes you to give that nagging little voice a bit more attention next time. This past March, the NTSB completed its investigation into the February 27, 2017, accident in which a twin-engine Cessna T310Q hit three houses about three minutes after taking off from the Riverside Municipal Airport (KRAL), Riverside, California. The pilot and three passengers were killed. One passenger survived, and what she told investigators played an important role in helping them determine what happened.
On the surface, this flight should have had everything going for it: an experienced pilot, an airplane that had undergone an annual less than four weeks before the accident, and instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) on the benign side. Clearly, something—or things—went wrong, resulting in the NTSB stating in its probable cause that the accident was due to the pilot failing to maintain airplane control upon entering IMC. This resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and an aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s personal pressure to complete the flight.