Pilot error, not icing, appears to have caused the Continental Airlines crash in Buffalo that killed 50 people Feb. 12, an investigation report released today states. When a warning device alerted pilots they were flying too slowly, they pulled the plane’s nose up—rather than down, as pilots are trained to do—and disrupted airflow above the wings, reports USA Today.
Safety experts note that the erroneous action would have pushed passengers into their seats at 1.42 times gravity’s force. Such a steep climb can compromise an aircraft’s aerodynamics, in this case rolling it onto its side. A public-safety hearing next month will discuss the crew’s experience, training, and behavior leading up to the crash.