Alaska plane crash happened on pilot’s first night flight

September 14, 2018

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A small plane crash north of Anchorage happened during the pilot’s first night flight training, according to a preliminary report by federal investigators.

The pilot and a flight instructor were injured when the Cessna U206 crashed near the Willow Airport last week, the Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday.

Robin Spaulding, 20, was on her first night flight after receiving her private pilot certification last month, according to the National Transportation Safety Board report. The certification process in Alaska allows pilots to complete the night flying requirement up to 12 months after getting certified.

Spaulding and flight instructor John Cabaud departed from Talkeetna before sunset Saturday night, planning to perform stop-and-go landings at multiple airports, according to the report.

The plane landed at Willow and took off again. After climbing, Spaulding turned right “into a dark area with no visible horizon,” she told NTSB investigator Noreen Price. She heard Cabaud ask about the plane’s altitude indicator before the aircraft dropped and crashed.

When Spaulding started on the turn, Cabaud “felt something was wrong,” he told the investigator. The horizon wasn’t visible and the wind stream sounded strange. He took control over the plane, but it crashed before he could recover, according to the report.

The injured pair made it out of the wreckage and Alaska State Troopers were alerted. The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center picked up the plane’s emergency locator transmitter, leading an Air National Guard helicopter to the crash site.

The newspaper couldn’t immediately reach Spaulding and Cabaud for comment.


Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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