Buffalo Crash: NTSB Looking at Pilot Error in Q400 Disaster

The NTSB is continuing its investigation into the crash of a Q400 twin turboprop near Buffalo on February 12th that killed all aboard the airplane and one person on the ground. In a startling development, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have reported that the Board is looking at the possibility of pilot error in the crash, to see if the pilot misinterpreted the stick pusher being activated due to an impending stall and pulled up on the yoke to regain what he perceived as a loss of control due to icing effects. Lead investigator Steven Chealander emphasized on Sunday that the Board is continuing to look at all possible causes, though. It is, he said, in the process of contacting and surveying pilots who were flying in the general vicinity of Buffalo on that night with the hope of shedding some light on the actual icing conditions the flight encountered. Chealander said that he hoped to have the results of the survey within a couple of weeks. The investigation, he said, will take up to a year to complete. For our editor's view on the nature of the investigation, click here.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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