‘Your senses won’t work in the air:’ Pilot explains how loss of instruments can cause loss of aircraft


COLEMAN COUNTY, Texas (KTAB) – The site of where a small aircraft crashed near Lake Coleman is set back quite a way from public roads. That means that data, a collection of numbers and arrows pulled from flightaware.com, is the best way to tell what happened.

“It looked to me like he turned around and made more than one 360-degree turn,” said general aviation pilot Dan Kenley,” which would make you think something’s not going right.”

Kenley explains while the human body is capable of recognizing surroundings and position while on the ground, it is truly out of its element while in flight.

As an example, Kenley described two very different actions which result in similar sensations: “In the airplane you can’t tell a pull up — it pushes you down in the seat — from a turn, which pushes you down in the seat.”

“Your kinesthetic senses won’t work in the air. The only thing you can do, you’ve gotta fly the instruments in the airplane,” said Kenley.

If those instruments are lost, which may have been the case in the Coleman County accident, the situation becomes extremely dire, and Kenley says recovery is extremely difficult, if not impossible.

“Somebody’s instruments could go out and if they went out, and they were trying to do something in the airplane, when they went down and moved back up, that would start all these sensations that you get, and that could do you in.”

Once the flight path is put into motion on flightaware.com, you can see the situation play out. The details may never be completely discovered, or made known, but the result is all too clear.

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