Episode 38 – Merion Air Disaster Revisited
When a Piper Aerostar collided in mid-air with a Bell 412 helicopter over an elementary school in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, in 1991 Greg Feith was among the first investigators on the scene. Greg and John revisit the investigation to highlight NTSB findings that are relevant for pilots today.
The accident started the NTSB discussion and definition of aeronautical decision making. ADM is an important component of safe flying, in the cockpit and the hangar.
In the 1991 accident, five people in both aircraft were killed, including United States Senator John Heinz. Two school children on the ground were also killed by falling debris. More people on the ground were injured.
Greg describes the heartbreaking scene as well as the challenges of recovering evidence from a large debris field. Calling this a tragic event resulting from a “series of simple errors,” Greg talks about the role of crew experience, pilot communication and other notable factors.