Aviators ‘lucky’

An investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said the Red Deer pilot and his passenger are lucky to be alive after their plane crashed near the Wetaskiwin Regional Airport on Sunday.

An investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said the Red Deer pilot and his passenger are lucky to be alive after their plane crashed near the Wetaskiwin Regional Airport on Sunday.

Barry Holt, regional senior investigator with safety board, said the single engine aircraft was completely destroyed in the crash except for the cabin and a part of the left wing that remained attached. The pilot and passenger had only minor injuries.

The cause for the crash is still under investigation but Holt said weather may have been a factor.

The preliminary report that the plane might have hit an object was ruled out on Monday, Holt said.

“I think it was just one of those situations where kind of a loss of situational awareness transpired and they flew into the ground,” he said.

Holt said a second investigator has interviewed the 54-year-old Red Deer pilot, who has not been named.

The 42-year-old passenger, who is from Wetaskiwin, may also be interviewed and air traffic control tapes may also be reviewed as the plane was not equipped with a voice-box recorder.

Holt said his he would likely analyze instrumentation data for new information and to confirm what’s been reported so far. The investigation is expected to wrap up within a few days.

The Lancair IV-P plane was returning from Edmonton City Centre Airport and was attempting to make a landing at the Wetaskiwin Regional Airport around 9:45 p.m. when it crashed in a field just south of the airfield.

Holt confirmed that the aircraft was a kit plane, which means it can be purchased and assembled at home.

He said such an aircraft has to be inspected by an appointed person from Transport Canada and that the pilot must be licensed.

ptrotter@redderadvocate.com