Tue, Oct 24, 2006
VFR Pilot Flew Into Clouds, Lost Control
The case of a VFR pilot who flew with his friend into clouds and
crashed six years ago is winding its way through the courts in
Michigan this week. The widow of the passenger who died is suing
the federal government because she claims that the pilot, Daniel
Wood, was given an incomplete and inaccurate briefing when he
stopped to check with flight service.
Wood was flying with his friend James Srock back to Pontiac,
Michigan from a Florida trip.
The Detroit news reports Wood landed in Georgia to get a weather
briefing, and the government says the weather briefer gave all the
information she was asked to. Srock's widow says the briefer did
not apprise her husband's pilot of all the weather risks ahead of
him, including possible thunderstorms. The briefer
was decertified from giving pilot briefings after the accident
and given remedial training.
Wood was flying his experimental Seawind 3000 when he and his
passenger flew into clouds over Virginia. He evidently lost
control of the aircraft under IMC (Instrument Meteorological
Conditions) and crashed, killing both passengers.
The government brought in astronaut "Hoot Gibson" to testify the
VFR-rated Wood should never have flown into the clouds. "It is a
(visual flight rule) pilot's responsibility to avoid clouds,
regardless of what they've been told by the weather briefer,"
Gibson said in court.
Srock's widow Theresa, upset that government lawyers tried to
portray him as reckless, told the Detroit News, "He was
adventurous; he wasn't a risk-taker," she said outside the
courtroom. "He loved life."
The family of the lost pilot, Daniel Wood, is not participating
in the lawsuit.
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