Report: Pilots faced shifting winds before fatal crash
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The flight crew of a plane that crashed in a remote Alaska community last month, fatally injuring a man, abandoned an initial landing attempt and faced stronger winds on their second try before the plane went off the runway, according to a federal report released Friday.
The investigative update from the National Transportation Safety Board said the captain indicated he had accumulated about 20,000 total flight hours, 101 hours of which were in the Saab 2000, the type of plane involved in the October crash in the remote Aleutian Islands fishing community of Unalaska. The first officer indicated he had 1,446 total flight hours, 147 hours of which were in the Saab 2000.
There were 42 people on board. One person died, and others were injured. The report said the plane sustained damage including a hole in the main body. A propeller blade was found inside.
The plane was operated by Peninsula Airways, or PenAir, which is owned by RavnAir Group. In a statement, RavnAir Group said PenAir continues to cooperate with the NTSB and as a party to the investigation cannot comment on facts determined by the NTSB so far.
The statement said flights with Saab 2000 aircraft to Unalaska will not resume “until we are satisfied that our airline can meet the very highest levels of safety, and we have implemented and enhanced safety or operational measures that may be necessary for operations into this airport.”
Meanwhile, RavnAir Alaska is serving Unalaska with DHC-8 aircraft on the same schedule PenAir ran and is operating charter flights as needed, according to the statement.
Data examined by investigators as part of the NTSB report into the crash indicated winds during the first approach were reported at 10 knots. During the second approach, they were reported at 24 knots.
The preliminary report said the flight crew abandoned an initial attempt to land because they weren’t stabilized.
The runway is 4,500 feet (1,371.6 meters) long, and the flight crew indicated they touched down about 1,000 feet (304.8 meters) down the runway, according to the report. The plane hit a fence and rock and crossed a ditch and roadway.
“The flight crew reported that they attempted to steer the airplane to the right at the end of the runway to avoid going into the water,” the report states.