Flight Safety Resource for Pilots

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On a dark night, a Frontier Air Beech 99 on a commercial flight from Timmins to Moosonee, Ontario, struck the ground six miles short of the runway while conducting a seemingly normal visual approach. The first officer died in the crash; the captain and the two passengers were seriously injured.

The captain, who was flying this leg, had 300 hours in type, 2400 hours total time with an airline transport pilot rating. He told investigators the crash took him completely by surprise. The trees he hit were at the same elevation as the airport. He simply believed he was much higher than he was.

An 11,000-hour pilot in a 400-series Cessna flew his airplane into the water during a VFR approach into St. Thomas, USVI. He told investigators that his attention was on the localizer to establish the runway centerline, but the rest of the approach was "visual." Two passengers died; the pilot and two other passengers survived. The NTSB cited a dark horizonless sky, which caused a "black hole" effect over the water, causing the pilot to become spatially disoriented.


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