The crash of a single-engine propeller airplane into a Berthoud reservoir last year was likely due to errors made by the two pilots killed in the wreck, federal investigators say.
James Griffith, a 23-year-old from Denver, was learning to recover from aerodynamic spins with 58-year-old Patrick Blankemeier, the chief pilot in charge of flight instruction for Broomfield-based McAir Aviation, when the Cessna 172 they were traveling in went down.
The National Transportation Safety Board, in a final report on the crash, says it was probably caused by the pilots’ failure to “adequately recover from the intentional aerodynamic spin.”
The NTSB found no evidence “of a mechanical malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation during the flight.” According to the final report, the agency also found no evidence of problems with the Cessna’s flight controls.
“It is likely that the pilots did not apply prompt and/or correct flight control inputs to adequately recover from the intentional aerodynamic spin,” the report said.
Both Griffith and Blankemeier were licensed pilots.
The wreck happened on Feb. 27, 2017. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane in a nose-down spin — completing several turns — before disappearing into Culver Reservoir.
More from The Colorado Sun
- Sunriser: How an overwhelmed sheriff keeps his cool / It’s getting warmer in Gunnison / Who wants Polis recalled? / Child abuse hotline problems
- Cory Gardner had good news for Colorado. But Trump had tweets.
- A slain deputy. A political brawl. A school shooting: How Sheriff Tony Spurlock is handling years of turmoil
- A breakdown of the latest campaign cash reports shows big money — and big spending — in Colorado
- In crowded 2020 Democratic field, a clear top tier emerges. Colorado’s candidates are not in it.
- More than a third of Colorado high school graduates need extra help to do college work
- BLM will move 27 jobs from Washington to Grand Junction, 54 more to Lakewood as part of HQ relocation
- Colorado’s child abuse hotline can’t process tips from social media or email — despite a memo urging change
- Gunnison’s farm season has grown by 28 days. The proof is in “Barometer” Bartleson’s weather records.
- Who will pay to rebuild damaged U.S. 36 is unclear, but taxpayers may be stuck with some costs