NTSB Looking At Phoenix Airspace

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An NTSB investigator says he's considering controversial changes to the airspace around Phoenix as a possible contributing factor in the crash of a Turbo Commander last week that killed six people, including three children. Mike Huhn told the Arizona Republic that comments he's heard concerning the role of the airspace design make it a potential consideration in his investigation. "They are all correct statements. Therein lies the finger-pointing," Huhn said. He also told newspaper that the aircraft flew in a straight line at 4,500 feet, 500 feet below the Class B floor in that area directly into a cliff in the Superstition Mountains. Local pilots fought changing the floor from 8,000 feet to 5,000 feet when the FAA proposed it in 2006 and their spokesman didn't mince words on its role in the Thanksgiving Eve crash.

James Timm, executive director of the Arizona Pilots Association, suggested an accident was inevitable. "You expect (an accident) to happen, and you hope it never will. It has come to pass," Timm said. "We were concerned about it from the very beginning. We pushed very hard to get more space." FAA spokesman Ian Gregor declined to speak about this accident in particular and confined his comments to a basic description of VFR and pilots' "see and avoid" responsibilities.