NC Aviation Law Attorney


National Transportation Safety Board investigators will be on scene today at the site of the tragic crash near the Harnett County (NC) Regional Jetport.  Although too early to speculate on the cause of the crash, this type of crash, a night-time approach-to-landing accident, will result in the NTSB focusing on the following areas while trying to answer the main question of why was the Cessna 182 low enough to clip trees a mile from the airport?

Any night approach to landing crash in which an aircraft crashes short of the runway leads to concerns about “spatial disorientation.”  This can be caused by lack of light in remote areas which causes pilots on visual flight rules (VFR) flights—meaning not being directed and monitored by Air Traffic Control and flying by instruments—to lose reference to visual cues which keep them safe.  If this happens, a pilot can become disoriented and lose his or her ability to fly the aircraft safely.

Also to be investigated is whether the aircraft sustained some sort of mechanical problem that caused the aircraft to lose power.  The NTSB will be looking at potential engine mechanical problems.

Another consideration is some type of control malfunction which prevented the pilot from being able to control the aircraft.  The NTSB will look at all control linkages, pulleys and cables.

Another potentiality is fuel exhaustion.  It is not inconceivable that after a long cross-country flight the aircraft could have run out of fuel.  The NTSB will be checking departure airport records and any en route stops to see if the aircraft took on fuel and, if so, how much.

The degree of damage seen on aerial photographs initially indicates an impact with considerable force which could indicate powered flight.

James T. Crouse
434 Fayetteville Street
Suite 2350
Raleigh, N.C. 27601
(919) 861-0500
(919) 861-0170 Fax
(919) 622-2275 Cell

Posted by 9:04 am

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