By Adam Pinsker
Channel 2 News
10:22 PM AKDT, September 3, 2012
It’s a busy time for private and charter pilots around Alaska as the end of summer overlaps with the beginning of hunting season. Seasoned pilots say this is not a time to cut corners in the friendly skies.
"Flying in weather that you shouldn't with ceilings lower than you should, going out and forcing on rather turning around and going back,” said pilot Chuck Miller, who’s based at Merrill Field in Anchorage.
Investigators say a Girdwood man may have had poor visibility and a low ceiling when his single engine plane hit power lines and crashed near Homer Friday.
There were two separate non-fatal crashes at Atigun Pass and in Willow over the weekend.
No one was hurt in those incidents.
"There’s a lot more activity out there, a lot more folks enjoying the great outdoors,” said NTSB Spokesman Clint Johnson. “There's really no common denominator for all the accidents we had over the weekend."
Officials expect the frequency of plane crashes to decrease, as the temperatures get colder.
Miller says pilots need to set parameters for themselves during their journeys and know their limits.
"If you're going to do dead reckoning, fly by the terrain, as you get pushed lower, those way points and those markers that you're looking for, usually aren't there."
It’s not just the external factors pilots have to be conscious of. Charter pilots taking hunters to and from the bush, are going to be coming back loaded with game.
"We don't typically fly our planes at gross weight, when we're practicing,” adds Miller. “The plane acts differently."
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