The NTSB says a pilot’s distraction while taking a selfie with a cellphone may have contributed to the crash of his Cessna 150, killing him and a passenger in May of 2014 in Colorado. Amritpal Singh, 29, and a passenger who has not been identified, died when the aircraft likely entered a spin at low altitude and crashed in a field near Watkins, Colorado, just after midnight last May 31. Investigators found a GoPro camera near the wreckage and the files showed Singh and various passengers taking selfies, using the cellphone’s built-in flash, on a brief flight that immediately preceded the crash flight and on several the previous day. It theorized that it was a continuation of that behavior that led to the crash. There was no video of the crash flight. “Based on the evidence of cell phone use during low-altitude maneuvering, including the flight immediately before the accident flight, it is likely that cell phone use during the accident flight distracted the pilot and contributed to the development of spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control,” the report said. It cited “the pilot’s distraction due to his cell phone use” as a contributing factor to the crash.
The weather was 300 overcast with visibility seven miles and the report says radar data showed the aircraft reached an altitude of 740 feet AGL before turning and descending at 1,900 feet per minute into the field. The wreckage was consistent with damage from a stall-spin. The report said the pilot’s logbooks did not show that he met currency requirements for IMC or for a night flight with passengers. The aircraft took off for a six-minute flight around the pattern and the GoPro recorded Singh and the passenger taking selfies on the takeoff roll, during initial climb and in the pattern, using the flashes in their cameras. On the second flight, the aircraft left the pattern before crashing.