Pilot In Power Line Collision Cites Lack Of Marking

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A pilot whose certificate was suspended when his L-39 sliced through power lines crossing a canyon in Colorado in 2015 is now saying the utility company is to blame for damage and injuries that resulted from the incident. Stars and Stripes is reporting that former Marine pilot Brian Evans claims in response to a lawsuit that Xcel Energy should have marked the seven transmission lines his jet trainer sliced through on May 28, 2015, while he was flying at low level through De Beque Canyon, about 25 miles east of his departure point of Grand Junction. The power lines fell on a freeway going through the canyon and the suit was launched by Steve Centofanti, who said he lost feeling in his hands and was terrified by the mishap. He also said his hearing was damaged by the noise of the aircraft when Evans powered out of the canyon.

The passenger in the Albatros, Raymond Mez Davoudi, has also blamed the energy company. Centofanti's vehicle and other vehicles on the freeway were damaged by the falling cables. In suspending Evans’s certificate, the FAA reportedly determined he was flying less than 500 feet above the floor of the canyon. The aircraft suffered some minor damage but Evans was able to get it back to Grand Junction for a safe landing. Evans lost his ticket for six months over the mishap.

Comments (8)

Personal responsibility. He is giving all of us pilot's a bad name. I hit a power line and almost killed myself. It was my fault, no one else's.

Posted by: Steve Pierce | November 27, 2017 7:16 AM    Report this comment

Their ego wrote checks their banks will have to cash.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | November 27, 2017 8:31 AM    Report this comment

Here in the US it is always "someone else's fault".

Sadly the USMC is apparently no longer teaching personal responsibility. Or their teaching of basic flying skills has diminished.

Posted by: Jeff Land | November 27, 2017 9:24 AM    Report this comment

Let's see... flying at 200' AGL over a busy freeway. CHECK Failing to be aware of charted obstacles (low level powerlines). CHECK Flying at over 200 kts up a tight, twisty canyon. CHECK. Demonstrated disregard for the motal risk his behavior imposed by motorists traveling on the freeway below. CHECK Disregard for the mortal risks is behavior imposed on the residents of homes located along the frontage road as he few at low level and high speed up the canyon prior to striking the powerlines. CHECK Question: At 200+ knots, how would he have ANY possible likelihood of (1) seeing a couple of orange balls in those low level wires? Then (2) reacting with appropriate control and power inputs? Then (3) receiving the desired response from the aircraft (which, according to the laws of physics, would have significant inertia to overcome)? I think there's a term I heard from time to time in the service for his incredible defense: "B. S."

Posted by: John Townsley | November 27, 2017 10:04 AM    Report this comment

One thing I learned eons ago when I was a young and foolish crop spraying pilot; wires are hard to see, look for the poles.

Posted by: Jim Foreman | November 27, 2017 10:52 AM    Report this comment

Mr. Evans: You've GOT to be joking!

Posted by: Thomas Lembessis | November 27, 2017 5:35 PM    Report this comment

Those wires are hard to see. Many years ago I flew a mosquito fogging plane (DC-3) for a county, where it was legal to fly as low as we wanted to. And we had to know where the wires were or we'd hit them. By the time you see them it's too late to miss them. Unless they are marked. If pilots fly 1000' above densly populated areas and 500' above any other property, it will usually keep us out of trouble. Even a power line qualifies as someone else's property, and one must be 500' above it to be legal. Cow in a field, fence, windmill, all must cleared by 500'. So zooming around at 200' over others property isn't legal, That's why the guy got busted. Although approaching a runway to land on a normal glide slope and path it isn't required to clear anything by the 500' or 1000' foot rule. But if not there it's easy to get in trouble.

Posted by: Ted Striker | November 29, 2017 2:11 PM    Report this comment

Was he one of the USMC pilots flying off the charted low level route, site seeing in Italy, that clipped a skyride cable and sent a gondola loaded with passengers to the valley floor below?

Posted by: Mike Mower | November 30, 2017 8:36 AM    Report this comment

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