Report: Both pilots at fault in minor Lantana airport mid-air crash


Federal regulators say both sets of pilots were at fault when an airplane crashed into a helicopter above the Lantana airport in January 2015.

Nobody was hurt in the crash, and at least one pilot of the airplane told investigators he didn’t even know there had been a collision because his student pilot didn’t tell him. The new report, issued Monday, says the crash was probably caused by poor communication and pilots not knowing what was going on around the airport, which lacks a staffed control tower but is a busy training ground for pilots.

» Download our PostNOW app to get the latest Breaking News

The National Transportation Safety Board said the airplane’s pilots failed to look out for traffic they knew was in the area. Contributing to the cause, though, was the airplane pilots’ failure to announce their intention to land before landing, and the helicopter pilots’ vague radio communications.

The helicopter quickly descended to the ground after the crash. The crash smashed portions of the helicopter’s rotor blade and sliced through a section of a step on the airplane.

Pilots are supposed to announce their intentions as they come toward airports. The pilots on the airplanes did not announce they were coming in for a landing or simulating a landing without engine power. The helicopter pilots on a previous approach had announced an intention to land, but before the crash only radioed to say they were turning for a final approach.

A Federal Aviation Administration manual quoted in Monday’s report warns: “There is no substitute for alertness while in the vicinity of an airport. It is essential that pilots be alert and look for traffic and exchange traffic information when approaching or department an airport without an operating control tower.”

The Robinson R22B helicopter was being operated by Palm Beach Helicopters. The Piper Cherokee airplane was operated by Palm Beach Flight Training.

The airplane was being flown in a flight instruction test by Clifford J. Coffyn, 57, of Boynton Beach, under the instruction of William B. Lumley, 78, of Delray Beach. In the helicopter, Cameron L. Wells, 29, of Lake Worth was serving as a flight instructor to student pilot Lee S. Carter, 27, of West Palm Beach.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Alleged car thief in Florida stops to buy welder’s mask to watch eclipse
Alleged car thief in Florida stops to buy welder’s mask to watch eclipse

The solar eclipse transfixed the nation Monday, from Donald Trump at the White House, to ordinary citizens across the country taking time out of their jobs to stop and view the celestial show. But perhaps it's best not to become too distracted by the eclipse, especially when you're being tailed by police, as one 22-year-old found out in Central...
Police: Desperate to see eclipse, Florida car thief stops to buy mask
Police: Desperate to see eclipse, Florida car thief stops to buy mask

The solar eclipse transfixed the nation today, from Donald Trump at the White House, to ordinary citizens in Palm Beach County and across the country taking time out of their jobs to stop and view the celestial show. But perhaps it's best not to become too distracted by the eclipse, especially when you're being tailed by police, as one...
What is Trump’s plan for Afghanistan?
What is Trump’s plan for Afghanistan?

President Donald Trump spoke to the nation from Fort Myer on Monday night. “I am here tonight to lay out our path forward in Afghanistan and South Asia,” he said.  The United States “must seek an honorable and enduring outcome” worthy of the sacrifices that have been made. The consequences of a rapid exit are “both...
Pedestrian seriously injured after being struck by car in Lantana

A pedestrian was flown to a trauma center Monday night after being struck by a vehicle on South Dixie Highway in Lantana, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. The injured man was found on the roadway at the intersection with Sterns Street. The crash took place around 8:15 p.m. » Get the latest breaking news at PalmBeachPost.com
FORECAST: Storms could bring 3-plus inches of rain to PB County
FORECAST: Storms could bring 3-plus inches of rain to PB County

That tropical system hovering just off the southeast Florida coast will make things wet and windy starting Tuesday, and likely all week, the National Weather Service’s Miami office said Monday. The weather service gives a 60 percent chance that 3 inches or more will fall across the region through 8 p.m. Tuesday. Rain was expected to move...
More Stories