The aviation accident at Lievestuore on 19 July 2017 generated three safety recommendations

Published 14.5.2018

An aviation accident occurred at Lievestuore in the municipality of Laukaa on 19 July, 2017, when a Piper J3C-65 Cub Mod crashed into the woods during its final approach. The pilot, who was the sole occupant of the airplane, died instantly.

The pilot of the Piper intended to take off for Lapland from a private landing strip at Riitakorpi together with the pilot of a Kitfox aircraft. Their plan was to first check the flying weather from the air. However, immediately after take-off the pilots saw that the weather was poor in the direction of their intended route. They decided to abort the flight and return to wait for the weather to improve. During the approach the Piper’s airspeed decreased and its sink rate increased. Finally, the aircraft collided with an approximately 25 m tall tree and, after being airborne for an additional 110 m, crashed into the woods.

The Safety Investigation Authority recommends that the Finnish Transport Safety Agency require sport aviators to report the flight activities taking place at private land areas and other temporary airstrips located near controlled airspace to ANS Finland’s flight information services.

There are several private land areas in Finland where temporary flight activities take place, with the permission of the property owner. Regarding Riitakorpi, no application for uncontrolled aerodrome status had been submitted to the Finnish Transport Safety Agency. Nor was it reported to the aviation authority as a Light Aircraft Field. The location of Riitakorpi was not generally known.

Also, the Safety Investigation Authority recommends that the National Police Board and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, together with ANS Finland, review the contents of the Aeronautical Search and Rescue Manual of ANS Finland as well as the National Police Board’s guide “Aviation accident/search and investigation associated with a missing person" so that they are harmonised and clear with regard to command responsibilities and launching searches in the terrain without delay at the stage when SAR flights are being flown.

When it comes to command responsibilities and launching searches in the terrain efficiently and without delay, the procedures of the Aeronautical Search and Rescue Manual of ANS Finland as well as of the National Police Board’s guide “Aviation accident/search and investigation associated with a missing person" were unclear.

Finally, the Safety Investigation Authority recommends that ANS Finland draw up a series of standardised questions to be used by the Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre (ARCC) during full emergencies and aircraft accidents. Detailed standardised questions can expedite the process of locating a missing aircraft during an SAR operation and/or focusing the search in the terrain to the most likely accident area.

More information:
Ismo Aaltonen, Chief Air Safety Investigator, tel. +358 295 150 703