Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


December 27, 2012

Pilot error indicated in fatal plane crash

Greensburg — Dear Editor:

As have most folk, I have followed with great sadness and interest the recent plane crash which resulted in the untimely deaths of Donald Horan, Barbara Horan, Stephen Butz and Denise Butz.

From the outset, all indications have been that there was no problem with the airplane, which was an advanced, sophisticated model carrying all of the latest electronic equipment.

Horan’s friend and fellow pilot, who was flying another plane back to Greensburg from Florida, attempted to land in Greensburg, failed, and wisely diverted to the Columbus airport where he landed without incident.

There’s a big elephant in the room in this whole matter. As various reasons for the fatal crash have been proposed, one possible cause has been carefully danced around and avoided — that being simple pilot error.

It seems highly probable to me that Mr. Horan was held in such high esteem in the community that the possibility he made a grievous error in continuing to attempt to land in Greensburg rather than diverting to Columbus is just unthinkable to local residents.

Mr. Horan was undoubtedly a man of strong convictions. Those convictions had served him well in his extremely successful life. It’s possible that those same convictions that had served him so well in the past may have led him to believe that he could land his airplane in that place at that time even though good judgment surely indicated otherwise.

I wish Mr. Horan had shelved his feelings of self-confidence on this occasion and headed west just a few miles to make a safe landing in Columbus.

I expect to get attacked for making the suggestion that ego and over-the-top self-confidence may have contributed to this tragedy, but that’s what I think.

Best regards and sincere condolences to all involved,

Norm Voiles,



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