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

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Vehicle knocks out Parksville power pole

Traffic single lane heading southbound

Qualicum Beach man arrested after women report disturbing phone calls

Suspect threatened to kill victim’s family if she did not engage in sexually explicit conversation

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Highway 19A closed in both directions near Union Bay

An incident involving a vehicle has shut down Highway 19A in both directions early Saturday morning.

Are B.C.’s gas prices enough to keep you from travelling May long weekend?

Gas prices in B.C. ranging from 125 cents per litre to more than 150 cents

Most Read