NTSB Report Shows Weather Played Role in September Plane Crash

By: Paul Matadeen
By: Paul Matadeen

A new report from the National Transportation Safety Board report says a September crash in Walton County could have been avoided.

The Mitsubishi M-U 2 aircraft crashed in a wooded area southeast of Defuniak Springs.

Federal investigators now say the weather may have been a major factor.

A jumbled mess is what’s left of the Mitsubishi M-U 2 plane that went down on September 1st killing the 64-year-old Panama City Pilot, Buddy Head.

Witnesses say there was rain and lightning in the area. Now, an NTSB report confirms it.

The pilot safety alert outlines recent fatal encounters between planes and thunderstorms.

It details the Walton County crash, showing a thunderstorm over the community of Argyle.

The radar image shows exact conditions Buddy Head flew into on September 1st, in the area where he crashed.

"There is no aircraft that's certified, today, to fly in that kind of weather," said Ralph Sorrells, who is the deputy general manager of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America.

"Thunderstorms are the most obvious danger to aircrafts because of the different types of weather they produce," said Jason Kelley, WJHG Chief Meteorologist.

The investigations, like the Argyle crash, show pilots were either not told about severe weather ahead of time, or they were given incomplete information.

The report went on to say, each pilot had readily available alternatives that, if utilized, would have likely prevented the accident.

However, it lays the responsibility at the feet of the pilots.

"Anytime you have any sort of thunderstorm in your vicinity, if you're a pilot of any sort, you need to be extra aware and extra vigilant in protecting yourself and you're aircraft," said Kelley.

The report went on to say air traffic controllers never issued radar weather information, nor did the pilot ask for it during the flight.

“Air Traffic Control can only do so much, they operate off radar, and they operate off satellite systems, but the best measure is a pilot's eyes and what he sees," said Sorrells.

That's one of the reasons why the NTSB says readily available alternatives could have prevented the crash, altogether.

We tried to contact the NTSB for a comment about this report, but they have not returned our calls.


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