Using your phone while on a plane? Great idea if you’re a passenger. If you’re actually flying the plane, or otherwise near the person piloting the aircraft, it’s a potentially devastating choice. The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) has released their findings on a crash that occurred in May of last year, and are blaming selfies and the use of flash for bringing the aircraft down. According to their report, the pilot experienced spacial disorientation as a result of being distracted while flying.
A GoPro was on the plane with the pilot and his passengers, and showed footage from previous flights, including one just prior to the last one. In those flights, the pilot and crew were found to be taking selfies and using the flash.
The pilot and one passenger died from the crash. The GoPro found by investigators had no footage of the flight immediately preceding the crash or the crash itself.
The NTSB says smartphone usage “distracted the pilot and contributed to the development of spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control.” From the NTSB report:
The GoPro recordings revealed that the pilot and various passengers were taking self-photographs with their cell phones and, during the night flight, using the camera’s flash function during the takeoff roll, initial climb, and flight in the traffic pattern.
It’s possible the pilot was taking grinds up for a joyride, and to snap pics. According to the report, the pilot also made a six-minute trip ahead of the one the one preceding the crash. Radar data shows the airplane “departed the runway, made one flight around the traffic pattern, and landed 6 minutes later.”