Pilot to Blame for Plane Crash?

Matthew Ezzo

BUFFALO–A crashed commercial airplane with no apparent broken parts and no ‘mayday’ call in the final minutes before the crash left investigators stumped as to how this all happened.

On Thursday, Feb. 12 at about 10:25 p.m., the first commercial plane crash in two and a half years left 50 people dead, 49 in the plane and one in the house that was demolished in the accident in Buffalo, N.Y. However, in the time that has passed since the last crash, not much has changed. Distraught families still demand answers as to what exactly caused the crash.
Investigators have been going through parts since the crash occurred last week and still have not come up with any concrete answers. However, investigators have found that the autopilot system was left on through the first part of the flight, despite warnings from both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Continental Airlines to not use the system during icy conditions. The pilot reported a large build-up of ice on the windshield and wings of the plane, even though the de-icing system on the plane was turned on and pilots landing shortly after the Buffalo crash reported only mild icing.

The auto-pilot system was disengaged after the pilot received a warning that the plane could stall. Investigators also state that the pilot’s actions after noticing the warning could also have lead to the crash. Steve Chealander, a member of the NTSB and an investigator on the scene, says it is not odd that there was no mayday call.

“At that point, from a pilot’s perspective, they had their hands full. They weren’t thinking about keying a microphone and saying mayday to anybody out there. They were trying to save their lives and the lives of everybody on that airplane,” said Chealander.

As investigators try to keep their scene from being tampered with as they remove the remains out of the suburban community as quickly as possible, much is still left unknown about the plane crash. While family and friends hold memorial services and grieve over their loved ones, they wait anxiously, as many Americans do, for more answers to this mystery.