de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver float plane, not one from crash. Image Credit: A Wikimedia Commons

TSB blames optical illusion for plane crash

TSB blames optical illusion and unsecured cargo for 2016 fatal plane crash near Prince George

The fatal crash of a small float plane in central British Columbia was partly the result of an optical illusion associated with low-altitude flights, as well as overweight and improperly secured cargo, the Transportation Safety Board says.

A pilot died and two of four passengers were seriously injured when the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver float plane went down during a hunting expedition in October 2016 near Laidman Lake, about 150 kilometres southwest of Prince George.

The board’s report describes how the aircraft was more than 300 kilograms over its maximum allowable weight, and because the cargo was unsecured, it hit the rear passenger seats when the plane crashed.

RELATED: Coroner releases name of victim from Monday’s plane crash

The report also says the pilot likely misjudged how close the plane was to the ground because of an optical illusion associated with flying under an overcast sky and over snow-covered vegetation, causing the aircraft to stall when the pilot tried to avoid hitting the hillside.

“The lack of features to provide scale in the snow-covered terrain, together with the minimal contrast among the dense trees given the diffuse light conditions, likely disguised the upsloping terrain and the actual horizon,” the report says.

“As the slope steepened, the perceived horizon would have moved upward in the windscreen, and the pilot may have pitched the aircraft up to maintain a constant angle between the pilot’s reference point on the aircraft and the rising terrain.”

The two other passengers on board suffered minor injuries during the crash.

The Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all DHC-2 aircraft that operate commercially in Canada be equipped with a system that would issue a warning as an aircraft is about to stall.

“It is reasonable to conclude that the absence of a stall-warning system deprived the pilot of the last line of defence against an aerodynamic stall and the subsequent loss of control of the aircraft.”

The agency says this recommendation would not have helped in this incident because the aircraft was privately operated, but it underscores the benefits of a stall-warning system.

The Transportation Safety Board investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation incidents and its purpose is to improve transportation safety, not attribute blame or find fault.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Royal Roads University and First Nations Technology Council partner for tech education

The program provides six technical and innovation streams to indigenous groups

Police still searching for missing Langford teen

Ashley Garland could be using the alias Michelle Adams

‘Construction on Sooke Road going well’ – Transportation Ministry

Ministry asks that drivers obey traffic control personnel and watch out for workers

Save-On-Foods opens its doors in Langford this week

Grand opening celebrations Saturday

Crash at Tillicum Centre breaks traffic signal

Emergency crews on scene, avoid the area

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

Sticking the landing at the B.C. Games

Gymnasts talk competition, B.C. Winter Games, and teamwork in Kamloops

$153M in federal cash to fund child care, education training in B.C.

Bilateral agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces

BC Ferries report net loss of $14.8 million in third quarter

CEO assures public it’s smooth sailing, advises of new ‘fare initiatives’

A B.C. woman talks her life in the sex trade

A view into the life from one Kelowna prostitute and the issues it can cause for women

Construction leaders of tomorrow are making dreams come true

Charity casino event will raise funds for Help Fill A Dream Foundation.

Twitter feed prays for — instead of preying on — B.C. MLAs

Non-partisan Christian group wants to support politicians through personalized prayer

Hundreds march for justice in death of Winnipeg teen

Tina Fontaine was pulled from a river in 2014, her body wrapped in a blanket and weighed down by rocks

Most Read