Tue, May 13, 2008
Wake Turbulence, Low Altitude Contributed to Crash
The National Transportation Safety Board issued a report last
week on the cause of the tragic accident at the 2007 Reno National
Championship Air Races that brought down an Aero Vodochody L-39C,
fatally injuring the pilot.
As reported by ANN, pilot
Bradley Morehouse, 47, was killed when he lost control of his L-39
after passing pylon eight in the course.
Videos of the accident showed the L-39 immediately behind the
race leader in a Rockwell T-2B Buckeye. As both aircraft rounded
the pylon, Morehouse's L-39 was witnessed banking to the left then
banking to the right through an inverted position while descending.
The aircraft impacted the ground in an upright, nose low
The NTSB concluded Morehouse encountered wake turbulence from
the aircraft in front of him, and was unable to recover in the
limited time afforded due to his low altitude. Quoting the Pilot's
Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, the report noted the resulting
vortices from the wake of a larger aircraft can impose rolling
moments exceeding the roll-control authority of the encountering
According to the NTSB report Morehouse attended the Reno Pylon
Racing Seminar in 2006, and he had competed in the jet races in
2006 and 2007. According to the check pilot, he flew well during
the racing seminar and no problems were noted.
Additionally, the Director of Flight Operations for the Jet
Class indicated that all pilots are given training in wake
turbulence avoidance procedures during the Reno Pylon Racing
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