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Carnahan Final Report

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Federal Report on Carnahan Crash

Earlier today, investigators with the national transportation safety board released their final report on the plane crash that killed Missouri governor Mel Carnahan, his top aide Chris Sifford and his son who piloted the plane.

Federal officials say a combination of instrument failure and pilot disorientation caused the crash on October 16, 2000. The federal report states Randy Carnahan became disoriented when the attitude indicator malfunctioned and could no longer control the plane.

Experienced pilots like Earl Holmer say instrument failure alone isn't enough to cause a fatal crash. Earl Holmer is a Springfield man who has flown planes for twelve years and has logged more than 3 thousand hours of flight time'he's also a part-time flight instructor.

He says it's important to understand it was a combination of factors, not just instrument failure that caused the crash. Holmer says he's experienced instrument failures during flights. He says that has caused him to think carefully about dealing with those emergency situations.

The chief flight instructor and chief pilot at pro flight air in Springfield says students must learn to fly without key instruments. Doug Jackson says even though he trains his students to deal with instrument failures, it's still difficult for pilots to translate training into action in a real-life emergency.

Even though the report cites the pilot's failure to control the plane due to spatial disorientation, it also notes that Randy Carnahan had received extensive training in the twin-engine Oessna 3-35.