Malaysia Airlines plane crash: Local pilot says changes to Ukraine airspace could come after crash

TEMPE, AZ - The U.S. government is working to figure out whether any Americans were onboard Malaysia Airlines flight 17.

The commercial plane was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

An analysis showed the plane was brought down by sophisticated missile shot from the ground.


No matter who shot the missile, nearly 300 people are presumed dead.

ABC15 spoke with a local pilot who expects this tragedy to spark change.

Retired Captain Ron Nielsen flew military and commercial airlines for 30 years.

“Looking back, there's going to be a lot of questions for anyone who had responsibility for them flying in that area,” he said.

He says commercial airline pilots are not trained to deal with extreme instances like this.

“You just become a test pilot instantly,” he said. “And you don't know what to do, and you just try to do your best and regain control of it. And if it's catastrophic like this was, there's not much that they could've done,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen believes this will mean big changes for the way airlines and pilots navigate the area over and around Ukraine.

For passengers that means longer flights as they divert for miles around it.

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