SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Experts say the pilot flying the plane that crashed in Truckee on Monday likely encountered erratic weather as they approached the Truckee-Tahoe Airport.
Descending onto the runway can be very dangerous because Truckee’s high elevation creates extremely unpredictable winds and storms.READ MORE: 'I Have No Words': Hero's Family Speechless As He's Receives Carnegie Medal
The plane involved is known as a Bombardier Challenger 600 series. Pilot Steven Thompson, CEO of Executive Flyers Inc., said it’s designed for private use.
“It’s used for corporate travel for businessmen, generally,” he said.
Thompson said this plane is big enough for luxury but small enough to land at the Truckee-Tahoe Airport.
“You can walk inside that jet and it has very very small wings. And it is built for a lot of speed,” he said.READ MORE: Assemblyman Says Local Tribes Will Help Design Native American Memorial At State Capitol
Thompson said landing often happens at nearly 170 miles per hour. He said landing at the Truckee Tahoe airport requires strong visibility. In some cases being able to see the runway from at least 1600 feet.
“When you have a lot of winds and gusts coming towards you, you really really want to make sure that if you don’t see that runway you can at least climb out and get out of danger,” he said.
Thompson said weather may have played a deadly factor in the crash.
“The winds are very erratic and very unpredictable,” he said.
Thompson himself has been forced to divert to South Lake Tahoe for a landing before due to issues with visibility and wind. He said he focuses on being careful to avert any sort of crisis.MORE NEWS: Thousands In Attendance For Return Of California Capital Airshow
“Sometimes it can seem perfectly ok until the last minute. Even a very experienced pilot can find themselves in that situation,” Thompson said.