NTSB: Pilot Misjudged Plane's Altitude In Fatal Crash

7:27 PM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
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WFMY News 2 -- The National Transportation Safety Board recently released the probable cause of a March 30, 2011 plane crash that killed two people in High Point.

The NTSB reported the probable cause to be "the pilot's spatial disorientation due to a somatogravic illusion while conducting a missed approach in instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in the airplane's descent into objects and terrain.

REPORT: NTSB Recent Report

FAA reports spatial disorientation is a "human's natural ability to maintain body orientation and/or posture in relation to the surrounding environment (physical space) at rest and during motion. Genetically speaking, humans are designed to maintain spatial orientation on the ground. The three-dimensional environment of flight is unfamiliar to the human body, creating sensory conflicts and illusions that make spatial orientation difficult, and sometimes impossible to achieve. Statistics show that between 5 to 10% of all general aviation accidents can be attributed to spatial disorientation, 90% of which are fatal."

The plane crashed into a house and killed the pilot, Marcia Salmons Keaton, 50, and passenger Dr. Thomas Littlejohn III, a Winston-Salem physician.

MORE COVERAGE: Read More WFMY News 2 Coverage On 2011 High Point Plane Crash

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