'Disorientation' To Blame For Galway Plane Crash

A report into a crash in Co Galway that took the lives of two Air Corps pilots in 2009 has concluded the probable cause as "disorientation" and "loss of situational awareness".

The crash happened at Cornamona in Connemara on 12 October 2009.

The tragedy took place during a military training flight that departed its base at Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, County Dublin on a cross-country, navigation-training exercise with Galway Airport as the intended destination.

Its crew consisted of an Instructor and a Cadet in training, the latter being the handling pilot. The aircraft flew initially northwest and later southwest towards Maum, Co. Galway.

The report said that as they approached high ground on the western shores of Lough Mask, the weather ahead was deteriorating while the aircraft, keeping in visual contact with the ground, crossed a ridge into a narrow and steep-sided valley.

It then commenced a rapid series of steep turns and turned onto a northerly heading while pitching up and climbing into cloud.

The aircraft then entered a progressively increasing pitch while rolling to the right and impacted the northern slopes of the valley in a steep nose down, wings level attitude at high speed.

Both crew members were fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed.

The Investigation determined that the probable cause of the accident was Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) attributable to Spatial Disorientation due to a Somatogravic Illusion following the loss of Situational Awareness.


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