Pilot Decision-Making Cited in Caravan Crash

The pilot of an Alkan Air Cessna Caravan took a wrong turn in bad weather and crashed into rising terrain in a box canyon in the Yukon last year according to the Transportation Safety Board. The 24-year-old pilot, Sean Kitchen, and his 33-year-old passenger Julia Lane, a Vancouver geologist, died in the crash near Mayo, Yukon on Aug. 6, 2019. The report was issued July 29 but the board also issued a press release to draw attention to the role pilot decision making played in the accident.

It was Kitchen’s fourth flight of the day and was the return trip from Rau to Mayo. The inbound trip featured the same low ceilings and visibility that he faced on the final flight. His scud running took him to treetop level at times. “The pilot’s decision-making would have been affected by his familiarity with the route and, consequently, he likely did not consider an alternate route to avoid the poor weather conditions,” the board said in its release. The TSB also noted that the terrain awareness system would have been blaring (unless it had been shut off) but that would have been ineffective because the entire flight was flown within the alert envelope for the system.