The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that a 13-knot easterly crosswind may have been a factor in the accident that killed Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger.
According to the NTSB, Lidle's Cirrus SR20 was flying over the east side of Roosevelt Island before starting a 180-degree turn. From that position, there was only 1,700 feet of room to complete the turn. However, the easterly crosswind would have caused the aircraft to drift about 400 feet, leaving only 1,300 feet to complete the turn.
The board computed that with an airspeed of 97 knots, the pilot would have needed a 53-degree bank angle and pulled 1.7 Gs in order to complete the turn inside the building. If the bank angle at the beginning of the turn were less steep, an increasingly aggressive bank would have been needed, and that would have put the aircraft close to a stall.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation notes that some 26 percent of fatal accidents occur during maneuvering flight. For more information, see the Safety Advisor Maneuvering Flight - Hazardous to Your Health? and the Nall Report .
November 7, 2006