Crash cause not related to malfunction
Investigators have found no malfunctions prior to impact that would have contributed to an airplane crash near Innisfail Airport in early November.
The Transportation Safety Board released its aviation occurrence report to the Red Deer Advocate this week.
The crash took the life of the lone occupant of the Cessna 182K, Herluf Nielsen, who was an experienced pilot from Spruce View.
At the time of the crash, dense fog was observed on a farm just over a kilometre southeast of the accident site and in the town of Innisfail, around seven km southeast.
Nielsen had flown for just under five hours on Civil Air Search and Rescue Association exercises prior to the crash.
A GPS Unit found in the wreckage showed that the plane took off from Red Deer Regional Airport around 10:30 p.m., climbed to 300 metres and headed southbound. When the aircraft was a little over a kilometre southeast of the threshold of the runway at the Innisfail Aerodrome, it entered a continuous, constant rate, right descending turn until it impacted with the ground. The aircraft was travelling at a relatively steady speed of 214 km/h. During the last minute of the flight, it reduced to 176 km/h before increasing rapidly to a maximum of 263 km/h before impact.
John Pearson, senior regional investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said he couldn’t speculate on what was going on at that point with the pilot or the aircraft.
The wreckage trail of the crash extended for more than 170 metres and the pilot was thrown from the plane during the crash. An intense fuel-fed fire after the impact consumed the cabin section. The cockpit, instrument panel and cabin were destroyed by the impact and the fire.
Nielsen held a Canadian private pilot licence issued in 1962 and was endorsed for night flight. The aircraft had its last annual inspection April 29, 2008.
Pearson said the factual information was submitted to the Calgary Medical Examiner’s office, the pilot’s family and other interested parties.
The exact cause of the crash will not be determined. Pearson said generally only crashes where new safety information can be learned will undergo an investigation where the cause would be determined. He said from this particular investigation, that was not likely to be the case.
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