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

Fries, gravy, cheese and goodwill: Victoria hosts Poutine Week

Buy one of the varying versions of this traditional dish and help feed hungry kids

Saanich homeless camp to voluntarily leave provincial land by Tuesday

‘If the province really wants to pick a fight with us, we may end up in John Horgan’s backyard,’ says camp leader Chrissy Brett

Victoria lawyer urges B.C. law society to make pro bono work mandatory

Resolution says justice system is “at a crisis level” in B.C.

Surge in requests for help, reports of sexual assault since #MeToo

Growing demand for Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic’s services in first year of #MeToo

Pumpkin patch proposal takes engagement to new heights

Flyover of ‘Will you marry me’ written in pumpkins

Secret supper clubs test appetite for cannabis-infused food ahead of legalization

Chefs are eagerly awaiting pot edibles to become legal in Canada

Black Press to host extreme career fair in Victoria

The fair will run on Oct. 25 at the Bay Street Armoury

POLL: Will legalization change your habits towards marijuana?

Marijuana is set to become legal across Canada on Oct. 17. Is… Continue reading

Enbridge to begin building road to access pipeline explosion site in B.C.

An explosion Tuesday knocked out a 91-centimetre line

Andrew Scheer on revamped NAFTA deal: ‘I would have signed a better one’

Conservative leader says he wouldn’t have signed USMCA

Matheson will have NHL hearing after Canucks rookie Pettersson hit

The 19-year-old Swedish centre appeared woozy after the hit

GUEST COLUMN: A better way to manage B.C.’s public construction

Claire Trevena responds to Andrew Wilkinson on NDP union policy

B.C. brewery creates bread beer from food waste

The brew aims to raise food waste awareness and provide funds for the food bank

Dad files Charter challenge after B.C. bans kids from taking transit unsupervised

Adrian Crook is taking his fight to B.C. Supreme Court

Most Read