Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Yes, planes crash.  So do cars, snowmobiles and bikes, often with deadly results.  Although we have a greater chance of being flattened by a chiptruck on the way to the airstrip than flying into a rock wall, facts are no match for irrational fears.  The media feeds fears with a wonderful job of reporting each and every air accident.
A Piper crashed out of Penticton yesterday on a route that we take each time we fly to the Coast.  We know the Brenda Mine site well. It sits at about 5,000 ft elevation, just east of the summit of the Connector.  It's a stunning distraction in a boring landscape that I usually knit through.
Brenda Mine site, July 6, 2012
Although we normally overfly Kelowna at 8,500 feet and notify the Tower that we are in the airspace as courtesy only, a take-off from Kelowna or Penticton requires considerable climbing to maintain a safe altitude over the central plateau.  The hotter the day, the thinner the air, and the longer it takes to gain altitude.  The more passengers or cargo, the heavier the plane, and the longer it takes to gain altitude.  It's pretty basic physics:  if the terrain rises up at you faster than you can climb, you crash.
It will be months before this accident investigation is made public, but when it is, every private pilot in Canada will receive the results.  Education is a huge key to pilot safety.  We learn from mistakes, and thankfully, in this case, so may three of the four people in that Piper.  Our prayers are with them, and the pilot's family.

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