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Weather, disorientation factors in 2019 crash of U.S. plane in northwestern Quebec

GATINEAU, Que. — The Transportation Safety Board says a U.S. plane that veered way off course and crashed in Senneterre, Que., in July 2019 was the result of poor weather leaving the pilot disoriented.

The board says in a report that flying in a degraded visual environment likely caused the pilot to experience spatial disorientation, leading to the plane crash.

The TSB says the flight profile and weather data suggested the pilot deviated over 350 nautical miles north from his intended flight path in an attempt to bypass a moving line of thunderstorms and lightning.

The aircraft travelling from Oshkosh, Wis., to Danbury, Conn., was reported overdue on July 29, 2019, as the pilot had to divert north to avoid a storm.

The Royal Canadian Air Force located the missing Beechcraft Bonanza airplane four days later in Quebec's Val-d'Or region, about 525 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

The report says numerous heading deviations and corrections by the pilot didn't allow for the plane to get past the line of bad weather or plot a course back to the original destination.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 10, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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