Icing caused Ebersol crash | SummitDaily.com
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Icing caused Ebersol crash

**FILE** Airport manager Scott Brownlee, left, talks with Arnold Scott, right, a senior air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, in a Monday, Nov. 29, 2004, file photo, at the site of a jet crash in Montrose, Colo. that killed the 14-year-old son of NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol and two crewmen and injured the executive and another of his sons. A pilot's decision to visually inspect, but not to feel, the wings of his plane to check for ice caused a 2004 airplane crash in Colorado that killed the son of NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol and two others, National Transportation Safety Board members concluded Tuesday, May 2, 2006. (AP Photo/Nathan Bilow, File)
AP | AP

WASHINGTON – A pilot’s decision not to touch or carefully examine the wings of his plane to check for ice caused a 2004 airplane crash in Colorado that killed the son of NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol and two others, National Transportation Safety Board members concluded Tuesday.With Ebersol and the pilot’s brother watching from the back of the room, board members agreed that the pilots should have taken several safety precautions before flying in winter weather, and that their lack of experience flying in such weather contributed to the Nov. 28, 2004, crash.

But the board members also said they were frustrated that repeated warnings to pilots and the Federal Aviation Administration about the danger posed by even tiny particles of ice on airplane wings seem to have gone unheard – at least by some.”We have too long been advocating changes,” said Mark Rosenker, acting NTSB chairman. “It’s on our most-wanted list. This is a tragedy that should not have happened.”Along with their conclusion about the cause of the accident, board members appealed to the FAA to develop training aids for all commercial pilots on how to feel their aircraft’s wings for ice and better prepare to fly in wintry weather.

FAA spokesman Les Dorr said the agency already was in the process of addressing some of the board’s concerns.Sixteen minutes before taking off in snowy, misty weather, pilot Luis Polanco-Espaillat, 50, and his first officer looked out the window to check the condition of the wings of the twin-engine Canadair charter jet and decided against deicing.

That decision was fatal, investigators said.Ebersol and his son Charlie both reported seeing slush or water on the plane. The temperature was below freezing and there was snow on the ground.


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