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Investigators Find that Icing Led to New Jersey Plane Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has just released its report on a December, 2011 New Jersey plane that killed five people and closed Interstate 287 near Morristown.

The crash claimed the lives of the pilot, his wife and two children, and an investment banker colleague of the pilot. No one was killed on the ground.

The experienced pilot had more than 1,400 hours of flight time, and owned his own single-engine Scota TMB 700 aircraft.

The plane had just left Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, bound for Georgia, when it spiraled out of control and crashed on a wooded median, scattering wreckage over a half mile.

The NTSB concluded that while the pilot has asked air traffic controllers to allow him to fly higher, out of icing conditions, he may have been reluctant to fly higher on his own initiative, or he may have been unaware of how severe the icing was.

The NTSB said the cause of the accident was “the airplane’s encounter with unforecasted severe icing conditions that were characterized by high ice accretion rates and the pilot’s failure to use his command authority to depart the icing conditions in an expeditious manner, which resulted in a loss of airplane control.”

Ice can form on airplanes when temperatures are near freezing and there are clouds or rain. The ice adds weight to an aircraft, and frozen “rime” can interrupt the flow of air over wings. Some aircraft are equipped with anti-icing systems to prevent ice accumulation, but these systems aren’t always effective in severe conditions.

Pilots must fly under the direction of air traffic controllers but are allowed to use their own discretion in emergency situations. According to the Federal Aviation Regulations, “in an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.”

If you or a family member have been injured in an airplane crash, or in any other kind of vehicle accident, contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney at the law offices of James C. DeZao, P.A.

New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney