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Fatal Plane Crash @ 2L0

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:43 pm
by foresterpoole
I am writing this in an effort to document what I witnessed and to come to grips with what I saw today which has shaken me to the core. I was getting ready for a mock check ride with my instructor when a gentleman called into the unicom at the airport asking for a gear check. My instructor who was near the FBO door saw the aircraft and went inside to confirm his gear was down. I saw the plane on final, he was fast, really fast and floated 3/4 down the runway. He retracted the gear, and pitched up trying to climb over the trees. He cleared the trees and I lost sight of him. He was talking on the radio about something and then there was a sound, I really can't describe it, and static on the radio.
An ELT signal then began to be heard. Fearing the worst an aircraft in the pattern began circling the timberland looking but had a hard time finding it. My instructor and I also went up and we located the wreckage not too far from our local VA hospital in the woods, probably 3/4 of a mile from the runway end. The only way we found it was the broken tree tops, the plane was not visible. By the time EMS and a rescue helicopter got there the pilot (sole occupant) was deceased.

I saw the guy in the cockpit (it was a globe swift, found out later) when he tried to land, I don't know him, it appears he had flown from Cleveland Texas, but I don't think the plane was registered in Texas. The next hour of checkride prep was mostly me trying to regain composure and overcome that "little voice" that was now screaming you just saw a man die, you could be next. By the second hour I was "back" but still I'm shaken from the accident. I've had some tough luck: weather, plane breakdowns, instructors quitting, that stuff is part of it, but watching/listening to someone die is insane. My prayers are with his family....

Re: Fatal Plane Crash @ 2L0

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:26 pm
by 3Dreaming
When I was a young pup before I started flying I saw a fatal accident right in front of me at Oshkosh. A Thorp T-18 made a low turning approach to landing. It stalled flipped upside down and crashed on the runway, bursting into flames.

I also saw the start of what would have been a horrific crash of a friend. It was post rebuild flight of an airplane that had been damaged in a storm. The airplane rolled out of a turn and kept rolling past inverted with the nose down. As I was grabbing the keys for our airport car to head towards where I knew the crash site would be I heard him say, "I think I'm going to be alright", just as he disappeared behind the trees.

Seeing or being part of something like that will stick with you for the rest of your life.

Prayers for the pilot's family and friends.

Re: Fatal Plane Crash @ 2L0

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:56 pm
by TimTaylor
foresterpoole wrote:I am writing this in an effort to document what I witnessed and to come to grips with what I saw today which has shaken me to the core. I was getting ready for a mock check ride with my instructor when a gentleman called into the unicom at the airport asking for a gear check. My instructor who was near the FBO door saw the aircraft and went inside to confirm his gear was down. I saw the plane on final, he was fast, really fast and floated 3/4 down the runway. He retracted the gear, and pitched up trying to climb over the trees. He cleared the trees and I lost sight of him. He was talking on the radio about something and then there was a sound, I really can't describe it, and static on the radio.
An ELT signal then began to be heard. Fearing the worst an aircraft in the pattern began circling the timberland looking but had a hard time finding it. My instructor and I also went up and we located the wreckage not too far from our local VA hospital in the woods, probably 3/4 of a mile from the runway end. The only way we found it was the broken tree tops, the plane was not visible. By the time EMS and a rescue helicopter got there the pilot (sole occupant) was deceased.

I saw the guy in the cockpit (it was a globe swift, found out later) when he tried to land, I don't know him, it appears he had flown from Cleveland Texas, but I don't think the plane was registered in Texas. The next hour of checkride prep was mostly me trying to regain composure and overcome that "little voice" that was now screaming you just saw a man die, you could be next. By the second hour I was "back" but still I'm shaken from the accident. I've had some tough luck: weather, plane breakdowns, instructors quitting, that stuff is part of it, but watching/listening to someone die is insane. My prayers are with his family....

I'm sorry you had to witness that. I'm sorry another pilot died doing what we all love. I guess we need to keep reminding ourselves that gravity is very unforgiving. Flying is not without risk, but the risk are not that great if we follow the rules and use good judgement. For instance, the previous discussion about flying at extremely low altitude is an example of judgement. While it is legal to fly "on the deck" in certain circumstances, it is poor judgement to do so, IMHO. It's somewhat like driving without seat belts or riding a motorcycle without a helmet. I can have as much fun flying at 5,000 feet as 50 feet, and have a much better chance of making a successful emergency landing if I lose an engine.

I'm not totally risk adverse and have skydived from 12,000 feet (60 second delay) many times and driven a dragster at 200+ mph, but when flying an airplane, I try not to take any unnecessary risk. I now only fly in good weather and start thinking about cancelling when there is more than a 10k crosswind.

Re: Fatal Plane Crash @ 2L0

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:43 pm
by foresterpoole

Re: Fatal Plane Crash @ 2L0

Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:31 pm
by akroguy
Sad, and makes no sense at all. He was over the runway with plenty(!) of speed, aborted and botched a go around???

Cut the damn engine and land it already. Soooo many pilots are just terrified of slowing down to proper approach speed and go screaming down the runway with no landing spot even remotely considered. :roll:

Pitch, power and trim. Fly the wing. Be ahead of the machine. Never arrive somewhere your brain hasn't arrived several minutes prior.

We have two, wrecked airplanes sitting near my house at my home airpark. One is/was a Globe swift...owner pranged the gear on a landing, "fixed" it, tried to take off again, lost directional control and ended up upside down in a ditch with a broken neck. Died a week or so later in the hospital.

A few nights ago, a night arrival of a Mooney went wrong...failed to arrest sink rate on final, splatted down a hundred yards short of the threshold, snapped the prop off, rammed the right gear into the fuel tank, plane slid to a stop abeam the numbers. Both occupants, thankfully, walked away.

Too many bents airplanes in my 'hood. Keeps me mindful of keeping my head in the game or just stay on the ground.

Brian
E98

Re: Fatal Plane Crash @ 2L0

Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:31 am
by foresterpoole
I'm sure the NTSB report will eventually shed some light on the cause. One thing that the DPE and I discussed today were two factors I had not thought of. One his flaps were fully extended when he pulled up, which leads to drag and the DPE thought that probably slowed him down on climb out. Also he thought that it was odd there was no fire, coming from Cleveland Texas is not a long flight he might have tried to milk the fuel and botched his calculations or was on a dry tank. When he turned and pitched up he unwittingly ran it out of gas. Everything is speculation of course and the DPE used the accident as a mini teaching/questioning point to discuss go arounds, fuel starvation, etc.

Re: Fatal Plane Crash @ 2L0

Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:42 am
by FastEddieB
Point and counterpoint:

I recently mentioned that in 1996 a Citabria I owned and rented out was involved in an accident with two fatalities. Though I did not witness it, I got to see the aftermath. It affected me deeply enough that it led to a two year hiatus from flying, during which I let both my medical and CFI expire. This in spite of the fact I owned another plane, which for the most part sat for two years. It was never fear of flying, but for a time the joy had been sucked out of the endeavor. I think I always knew I’d return to flying eventually, which I obviously did.

A few years ago I witnessed a fatal stall/spin accident at the Light Sport Expo in Sebring. It was a shock, but for whatever reason left me strangely unaffected.

Just an observation. Maybe one gets jaded or numb after enough exposure to tragedy. Not really sure.