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13 Killed in Private Jet Crash in Mexico — Is Pilot Error the Cause?

May 22, 2019

Investigators who are working to determine what caused the May 5 plane crash in Mexico that killed 13 people will most likely examine whether the pilot was attempting to climb above inclement weather, Feldman Shepherd aviation attorney G. Scott Vezina said.

What’s known at this time from news reports is that the plane was flying from Las Vegas to the Mexican city of Monterrey with three crew members and 10 passengers when it crashed in a remote mountainous area in the northern state of Coahuila.

The aircraft, a Bombardier Challenger 601, was registered to Utah-based TVPX Aircraft Solutions. The plane is believed to have crashed while flying in strong winds and heavy rain.

Vezina, a pilot for more than 30 years, said the likely reason for the crash is that the pilot saw the weather and was trying to climb above it, and the plane couldn’t provide the necessary level of performance. These circumstances would cause the pilot to “run out of air speed and options,” Vezina said. He said the plane would have stalled, went into a spin, and come apart in the air.

The flight-tracking sight was unable to continue tracking the aircraft after it climbed to an altitude of more than 40,000 feet.

Since the plane was registered in the United States, both U.S. and Mexican authorities will investigate the crash, Vezina said.

What Are the Top Causes of Small-Plane Crashes?

General aviation accidents, which are accidents involving small planes, occur much more frequently than commercial aviation accidents. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cites the top 10 leading causes of fatal general aviation accidents from 2001 to 2016 as:

  • Loss of Control Inflight
  • Controlled Flight Into Terrain
  • System Component Failure – Powerplant
  • Fuel Related
  • Unknown or Undetermined
  • System Component Failure – Non-Powerplant
  • Unintended Flight In IMC
  • Midair Collisions
  • Low-Altitude Operations
  • Other

How Many People Die in Small-Plane Crashes?

The latest data from the FAA reports that in 2017, 347 people died in 209 general aviation accidents. The safety record for 2016 was worse, with 411 people dying in 219 accidents.

To read more about general aviation accidents click here


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