Investigation shows 2005 Learjet crash was caused by pilot error | SierraSun.com

Investigation shows 2005 Learjet crash was caused by pilot error

(AP)Pilot error has been blamed for the crash of a corporate jet in Truckee in December 2005 that killed both men on board.

A probable cause report released by the National Transportation Safety Board concluded the pilot of a Learjet 35A that crashed and exploded while attempting to land at Truckee-Tahoe Airport compensated inadequately for gusty crosswinds and failed to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering in a steep turn close to the ground.

Killed in the Dec. 28, 2005 accident were Jonathan Martin, 40, and Brett Karpy, 34. Both were pilots for Washington, Pa.-based Skyward Aviation and were landing in Truckee to pick up passengers after flying from Twin Falls, Idaho. The report did not say which pilot was at the controls when the jet went down.

No evidence of any mechanical malfunction prior to the plane’s impact was found, the report issued on Wednesday said.

Surface winds were gusting between 23 and 34 mph when the crash occurred as the jet was making a circling approach to the airport.

“The operator’s flight training program emphasized that during approaches consideration of wind drift is essential, and a circling approach should not be attempted in marginal conditions,” the report said.

The 2005 crash was the last fatal aircraft accident at Truckee-Tahoe Airport and the first involving a jet.