Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Investigation Finds Pilot Disoriented at Time of Crash; Lack of Instrumentation Proficiency Also Cited in Fatal Accident Involving UNF Golfer, 2 Other Family Members

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Investigation Finds Pilot Disoriented at Time of Crash; Lack of Instrumentation Proficiency Also Cited in Fatal Accident Involving UNF Golfer, 2 Other Family Members

Article excerpt

Byline: Dana Treen

Disorientation and a lack of proficiency while flying by instrumentation caused a December plane crash in Jacksonville that killed a star University of North Florida golfer, her sister and father, an investigation shows.

The Dec. 8 crash into a residential retention pond killed Michael Huber, 60, and daughters Tess, 20, and Abigail, 17.

In his approach before crashing into the pond about a mile south of Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport, Huber had flown off course and said he would attempt another landing, according to the National Transportation Safety Board finding.

After Huber was told by an air traffic controller that he was flying low, the Cessna 310 climbed from 300 to 900 feet. After the climbing left turn, radio contact was lost and the Cessna disappeared from the radar screen.

Huber had been flying under instrument flying conditions due to the weather over Jacksonville the day of the crash.

Conditions were misty and overcast at the time of the 6:21 p.m. crash, and though there was no fog, clouds were about 200 feet off the ground.

During an initial approach, Huber flew about a mile right of and 900 feet below where he should have been, according to the report. The air traffic controller told Huber to check his altitude and said the plane was too low. Huber confirmed that the airplane was at 600 feet, then twice flew left of the proper approach to the airport before correctly finding it on the third try.

He descended to 300 feet then said that he was going to conduct a missed approach.

Huber began the final climb that ended in the crash, the report said.

A missed approach is not uncommon, particularly in unfavorable weather conditions, said investigator Robert Gretz of the Transportation Safety Board, who wrote the investigative report.

In missed approaches, a pilot can try again or go to another airport, Gretz said.

Exactly what was happening with the aircraft isn't clear, in part because radar sweeps that could pinpoint its location are four seconds apart.

"You can never tell exactly what he was doing," Gretz said. …

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