NTSB Report: Ice on Wings Caused Fatal 2014 Gaithersburg Plane Crash

Plane Crash 450x280A report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) states that the pilot whose jet crashed into a Gaithersburg home on Dec. 8, 2014, failed to turn on de-icing equipment, which caused ice accumulation on the wings that led to the crash.

“Pilots must rely on checklists and procedures because relying only on memory can have deadly results,’’ NTSB Chair Christopher Hart said. “The pilot’s failure to turn on the de-icing system in an icing situation proved to be disastrous,” he said.

Six people were killed, including two passengers and three people in the neighborhood. Marie Gemmell, and her two sons, 3-year-old Cole and 1-month-old Devin, died from the fire caused by the plane crash in their home.

According to a news release, “[by] not taking possible icing into consideration, the pilot set approach and landing speeds that were too slow for conditions, leading to an aerodynamic stall at an altitude at which a recovery was not possible. The airplane crashed less than a mile from the runway.”

Investigators used information from the flight recorder and found evidence that the pilot skipped checklist items prior to takeoff.

The board has issued a recommendation to the Federal Aviation Administration and the General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association that a system that can automatically alert pilot’s when ice protection systems should be turned on, be developed. NTSB also recommended that the National Business Aviation Association create enhanced pilot training guidelines for winter weather flying conditions.

For more information on the investigation, visit the NTSB website.

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About Maureen Chowdhury

Maureen Chowdhury is a multimedia journalist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at mchowdhury@mymcmedia.org and on Twitter at @MediaMaureen. Maureen authors the blog Sound Check on MyMCMedia.


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