Pilot error caused fatal Swiss plane crash

The jet that crashed in 2017 was a Pilatus PC-7, like these. Keystone

A Swiss military court says pilot error was the cause of a fatal army plane crash in the Bernese Oberland in September 2017.

This content was published on August 20, 2019 - 08:34

Despite insufficient visibility, the pilot flew based on what he could see rather than what the navigational instruments were telling him, the court found. This cost him his life when the PC-7 plane crashed into the Schreckhorn mountain (altitude 4,080m / 13,386ft) near Grindelwald.

The small Pilatus propeller plane had taken off from the Payerne air base in northwestern Switzerland, but did not land in the southern Swiss town of Locarno at the expected time. The flight did not involve active combat training, but was intended to transport the aircraft to Locarno, said the army at the time.

The Pilatus PC-7 is a low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft, manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft in Switzerland. The popular trainer aircraft was introduced in 1978.

This finding concludes the legal proceedings into the case, the court announced on Tuesday.

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