UPDATE; What caused the Minnesota private-jet crash?

Yesterday's jet crash in Minnesota of a chartered corporate jet filled with business people from South Jersey has been all over the news. The story of personal tragedy is told well an Inquirer story this morning, found here

UPDATE; I posted the comment below this morning on the barest of information. A news report on Minnesota Public Radio says witnesses, who weren't named, saw the jet land, its brakes locked, and it attempted to take off again before rolling over. A meterologist quoted says he doubts wind shear is the cause. Read that story here.

I'll leave the rest of the information up, not because I think I know more than anyone else at this point, but now that I reread it, I managed to provide some facts about wind shear, something that hasn't been in the news much at all in recent years. And I did say below "the media is always quick to try to pinpoint a cause." Guilty as charged, but please keep reading anyway.

The earlier post: We don't know the cause of the crash yet, but as investigators do their job, news media should ask them about "wind shear." That's the very deadly phenomenon that can occur in and around severe thunderstorms in which a column of cold air can fall rapidly through warmer air. The accompanying powerful wind gusts are hard to detect without special on-the-ground instruments. But they can cause severe turbulence and create a situation not all pilots have experience dealing with. News reports say that winds near the airport where the jet was trying to land had gusted over 70 mph earlier but that the winds weren't that strong at the time of the crash. The scenario is similar to what was reported just before other wind shear-related accidents years ago, including one of a Delta widebody I covered as an Inquirer reporter in the mid-1980s at DFW Airport in Texas. The media is always quick to try to pinpoint a cause of airplane crashes, and no one knows what caused this one. But keep a close eye on what investigors from NTSB say about the weather in the immediate vicinity.     

Continue Reading