The Utah State University (USU) aviation program has experienced the third fatal accident involving a student in recent years when one of their training aircraft, a Cessna 152, with two onboard crashed last Friday.
Certified Flight Instructor Blake Shumway and student Michael Carpenter were onboard and were killed in the crash. Utah State Aviation has a fleet of late-model aircraft, with most of their trainers being modern models from Diamond Aircraft. The Cessna 152 is often used by flight schools for spin training, as it is an economical platform for such training, which is required only for the initial Certified Flight Instructor certificate. It is not known if the two pilots were doing spins at or around the time of the accident.
Since it takes time for investigators to determine a probable cause for the accident, there has been no official word yet on the cause. Investigators from the NTSB will be involved in the entire investigation process, including speaking to any witnesses, looking at maintenance records, weather, training records and the like to assist them in determining the probable cause of this tragedy.
USU officials stated they will work closely with employees and students in the aviation program, providing counseling and other professional services to help deal with the loss.
Last August, three people were killed when their Cessna 182 crashed on Sessions Mountain in Davis County, Utah. One of those passengers, Kallie Edwards Peterson, was a flight instructor at USU.
In 2016, the first fatal accident for the USU Aviation program occurred when a commercial flight student, Frank Marino De Leon Compres, crashed while practicing maneuvers in preparation for his commercial check ride. Subsequently, the NTSB has determined the probable cause of that accident to be “the pilot’s exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle of attack while maneuvering in turbulence and gusty wind conditions, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall/spin.”
It normally takes one to two years for the NTSB to determine a probable cause of fatal general aviation accidents. We will continue to provide updates on this most recent USU accident as they become available.