Safety Board Blames Pilot in Dulles Learjet Crash
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The pilot was to blame for last June’s crash of a plane carrying Mexican soccer fans to Washington, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled Tuesday. The accident near Washington Dulles International Airport killed all 12 aboard.
The accident’s probable cause was ``poor decision making, poor airmanship and relative inexperience of the captain,″ Ricardo Hoyos Carasco, the board said.
The chartered Learjet missed one approach to the airport and was making a second instrument landing attempt in poor visibility when it went down in a heavily wooded area less than a mile short of the runway.
The plane was bringing fans from Mexico to see the Mexico-Norway game during last year’s World Cup soccer contests.
Air controllers received a transmission in Spanish from the plane about 6:25 a.m., June 4, but they didn’t understand what the pilot said, the safety board said at the time. The plane disappeared from airport radar screens about then.
Contributing to the accident was the lack of a ground proximity warning system on the plane, which might have told the crew the plane was too low, the safety board said.
The board speculated that the plane’s crew might have been tired following the all-night flight, but added that the pilot was relatively inexperienced, was not authorized for the type of landing approach he made and ``failed to adhere to acceptable standards of airmanship.″
TAESA Corporate Aviation, the Mexico City-based owner of the plane, released a statement saying it is generally satisfied with the board’s conclusions that pilot error was to blame. But the company ``strongly believes that crew fatigue and pilot inexperience did not contribute to the accident.″
In addition, the board noted that the plane had no flight data recorder, as required under international aviation rules, and while there were 10 passengers, the plane had only eight seats with safety belts installed.