BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Investigation into the crash that took the life of two people late Friday continues. As of now, investigators know the pilot asked for instrument flight rules. those allow a pilot to land through clouds with instruments only if visibility is limited. Permission had been granted, but 13 miles from the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, the plane disappeared from radar around 10:30 p.m. Friday.
The plane crashed killed 44-year-old Joseph Campbell and his 46-year-old wife Calli. They were from Florence, Mississippi. The wreckage was found Saturday afternoon off of Goodner Mountain Road in the Clay area.
The deadly plane crash is just the latest in a string of high profile accidents in Alabama going back several months. There have been a number of accidents which have dominated the headlines. Some have even gotten national attention- but when you dig into the numbers it’s not the upward trend it may appear to be.
2013 began with a small engine plane crash that killed three people in the Jasper area of Walker County. Last August, two people died when a UPS cargo jet crashed near the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. During Thanksgiving week 2013 there were three small aircraft accidents. Two non-fatal wrecks happened in Hopewell and Trussville, and one person died in an accident in Elkmont.
Aircraft accident statistics from an NTSB database show that, not counting the Friday crash that killed two people in Jefferson County, there were 12 aircraft accidents or incidents and six fatalities statewide between January 1st, 2013 and February 17th, 2014.
During the same span of time a year earlier- there were 27 accidents or incidents, more than twice as many. There were eleven fatalities as well.
Local pilot David Busby says anytime there is a high profile plane crash it gets everyone’s attention, including his.
“Because you think you know it could have been me. And we’re so safety conscious, I mean a big part of our training is safety related. You know we’re always constantly reminded to stay on guard and review our procedures and the things you do.” –David Busby, Pilot
But on the whole, he still feels safer when he’s flying his small plane than when he’s driving his small car. Busby says he feels safer flying than driving because he doesn’t have to worry about what everyone around him is doing, it’s usually just him. At the same time he admits that at 10,000 feet there is very little margin for error or equipment failure.
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