Richmond Plane Crash: Wake Turbulence Suspected Cause
Wake turbulence has been proposed as a plausible cause behind the plane crash in Richmond, BC, that occurred Thursday, July 9, 2009. In the incident, a small airplane said to have been on fire by some witnesses crashed in a parking lot near Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, BC, killing two pilots, the plane's only passengers.
According to Bill Yearwood, regional aviation manager at the Transportation Safety Board, turbulence in the wake of a larger Air Canada Airbus jet flying in front of the crashed airplane may have been the cause of the accident. Wake turbulence consists of vortices in the air left behind a flying aircraft, similar to disturbances caused in the wake of a boat moving through water.
Mr. Yearwood compared wake-turbulence to "little tornadoes" that come off the wings of an aircraft "much like the wake of a boat in the water."
"Pilots try to avoid, at all costs, flying into wake turbulence of other aircraft. If they encounter it, it's uncomfortable for the passengers, etc. It creates a rough ride," he said.
The crash investigation is expected to last several months, and wake turbulence is one of several possible scenarios in this early stage.