HOUSTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- An expert says the Colgan Air pilot who landed at a private field in Louisiana eight miles from his intended destination should have turned on the autopilot.
The flight from Houston on Sept. 7 was scheduled to arrive in Lake Charles, La., at about 10:30 p.m. Instead, the pilot landed at Southland Field in Carlyss, southwest of Lake Charles.
A Colgan plane came down in 2009 in Clarence, N.Y., in a crash that has raised questions about the airline's pilot training and the safety of the industry. Investigators say the crash was caused by pilot error, possibly because the captain and first officer were tired.
The Sept. 7 incident was the third involving a Continental feeder flight landing at Southland instead of Lake Charles. Sam Larsh, the Southland manager, said he is not surprised.
"If you're coming from Houston at night, you're flying across a big area of black," Larsh told the Buffalo (N.Y.) News. "You look out, and there's an airport. You're flying at 200 mph, and there's a reason for a pilot to think: 'Oh, there it is.'"
Colgan said the flight crew involved in the mistake has been relieved of duty while the incident is investigated.