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Disorientation May Have Led to Fatal Tulsa Crash in 2009

June 22, 2011

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June 22, 2011

The plane crash that killed five people on September 5, 2009, in west Tulsa, Oklahoma, was likely the result of the pilot being disoriented prior to the incident, according to a new report from the National Transportation Safety Board. The report says that poor visibility may have prevented the pilot from knowing which way was up and down.

The aviation accident occurred near Chandler Park after the 47-year-old pilot took off from Tulsa's Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport with the intention to fly to Dallas Love Field. He was piloting a Piper PA-32R-300.

Cockpit transcripts have indicated that despite air traffic controllers asking the pilot to climb to 4,000 feet, he remained at about 1,500 feet. In the final communication, the pilot told officials that he was climbing but he was told instead that he was descending.

Ten minutes after take-off, the plane crashed into a guy wire on a 600-foot tall transmission tower and then caught fire and was destroyed. All five passengers died.

The NTSB's report states: "During periods of low visibility, the supporting senses sometimes conflict with what is seen, when this happens, a pilot is particularly vulnerable to disorientation. The degree of disorientation may vary considerably with individual pilots, Spatial disorientation to a pilot means simply the inability to tell which way is up."

Read more.

Do you think this aviation accident was the result of pilot disorientation?

If you or someone you know has had their safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, contact the national aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy.

Photo courtesy of KTUL

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