National Transportation Safety BoardA Cessna 150 crashed in Watkins, Co. on May 31st of last year because the pilot and his passenger were taking selfies during the flight, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Based on files recovered from an onboard recording device (GoPro) that was found near the wreckage, the pilot and passenger were taking self-photographs with their cell phones and, during the night flight, using the camera’s flash function during the takeoff roll, initial climb, and flight in the traffic pattern. 

Spatial disorientation a factor

“A postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation,” the NTSB said in a statement. “Based on the wreckage distribution, which was consistent with a high-speed impact, and the degraded visual reference conditions, it is likely that the pilot experienced spatial disorientation and lost control of the airplane. The evidence is consistent with an aerodynamic stall and subsequent spin into terrain. Based on the evidence of cell phone use during low-altitude maneuvering, including the flight immediately before the accident flight, it is likely that cell phone use during the accident flight distracted the pilot and contributed to the development of spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control.”

The pilot had not met the currency requirements for flight in instrument meteorological conditions or night flight with passengers.