Pilot error was cause of March 15 crash

A Servant Air plane crashed in trees at the Kodiak State Airport on March 15. (Derek Clarkston photo)

A pilot’s judgment was the cause of the March 15 plane crash at the Kodiak State Airport, according to a report released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The report faults pilot Jason Lobo, 37, with a “failure to maintain clearance from rising terrain during takeoff.”

Specifically, the pilot’s decision to not use the full length of the runway under the prevailing conditions caused the crash, said Larry Lewis, the NTSB investigator who wrote the report.

Lobo used part of the runway, starting his takeoff at the intersection of runways 25 and 29 instead of beginning at the back of runway 29. The plane took off, but did not clear the trees on the far side of the runway.

“It’s these basic skill-based errors we see are responsibility for the majority of accidents.” Lewis said. “It’s complacency. It’s either overconfidence or skills that we don’t use on a regular basis or don’t practice that get us into trouble.”

The crash occurred at about 12:40 p.m. on a Servant Air flight to Old Harbor. The plane was carrying two passengers, Martin Inga, 38, and his wife Zora Inga, 33.

The wind was blowing at 15 knots, gusting to 27 knots from 290 to 300 degrees, or out of the west-northwest. Lobo told the NTSB investigator that there were no mechanical problems with the plane, a Britten-Normann Islander, prior to takeoff.

After the crash the NTSB reported one person suffered a broken arm, another sustained a sprained ankle and one received cuts and bruises.

Servant Air owner Wes Osowski did not return phone calls requesting comment on the NTSB probable cause report.

The crash was the second for airline Servant Air in three years. In January 2008 a Servant Air Navajo Chieftain bound for Homer crashed in Chiniak Bay shortly after takeoff, killing a pilot and five passengers.

Mirror writer Sam Friedman can be reached via e-mail at sfreidman@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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