Fatal Airplane Crash

teetee

New Member
In August of 2000, my cousin who had recently went through a nasty divorce, decided he wanted to continue his passion for flight. He had several hundred hours when he decided to attend a school in California to get his Multi-engine rating.

On October 6, 2000, his plane crashed into the side of the mountain. He was flying with a CFI. Both died in the crash. I have often thought about this crash, even more after I married a pilot. My in-laws had looked up the information and we had discussed it some but not really in-depth. My brother in law had told me that it was ruled as my cousin's fault. I thought that was interesting because of a lawsuit and battle my aunt and uncle had fought to have his name cleared. I had never read the reports but I had the knowledge of what was told to me by his parents and then also what my in-laws had read and discussed with me.

Tonight I was sitting and thinking and I decided that maybe I could finally handle reading what was in the NTSB report. It wasn't easy reading, reading what the plane condition was and that my cousin was in that plane made me sick at times. As I read everything in the report, I had a hard time understanding some of the information with the ATC. My husband is in the process of being hired as an ATC (he is a tentative offer letter). Feeling for both sides (ATC because my husband is going to be one and Pilot because my husband and lots of family are), I really would like to understand what really happened. I would like some input from pilots and ATC if they would on what they think happened, or rather how they would interpret the report.

First, a lot of the lingo is hard to understand. Although I may be married to a pilot and hear pilot talk on a daily basis, I have never received formal training. I have NO clue how to read weather readings and such. I do know that part of this crash was weather related but I couldn't understand it all.

Please tell me if I am understanding this correctly. My cousin was the PIC I believe, but if could have been his CFI, not sure. While flying he was talking to So Cal Tracon (enroute) and then was transfered to POC (tower) when he got to a certain point. He was disoriented from how I read it. A few times he says he has the airport in site then he says he doesn't. Even though he was IFR, the ATC asked if he wanted to move to VFR because of conditions. From what the ATC said he moved to VFR, but when I read I the transcript it sounded like he wanted to stay IFR. Did I get that right?

Where does the the Radar person fall into all of this? From how I understand it there was 3 ATC, the radar, enroute and tower. Is that right? Did the radar stop the warning about airplane elevation from reaching the other ATC's?

My aunt and uncle held a strong conviction that the crash and death was not their son's fault. I think part of it was that they had to hear it wasn't his fault to get closure. They fought the findings that the crash was his fault. About 2 years ago, my aunt was estatic when she got news that the NTSB had changed their findings and blamed the ATC for the crash and not my cousin.

At the end of the report, it stated: "According to 14 CFR Part 91.3, the pilot is responsible for the safety of the flight. This included deciding whether or not to continue the approach or conduct the missed approach procedure when the airplane had reached the missed approach point (MAP). The MAP for the VOR-A approach was the VORTAC. The airplane was approximately 2 1/2 miles north of the VORTAC and the airport.

The IIC released the wreckage to the owner's representative."

From my understanding, the NTSB still places the blame on the pilot. Why would the lawyer and others tell my aunt and uncle that it had been ruled that it was ATC fault and yet the report still reads pilot? Would that finding of it being the ATC fault be in another location?

Here is the full report.

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief2.asp?ev_id=20001212X22177&ntsbno=LAX01FA004&akey=1

Here is the summary one:

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/GenPDF.asp?id=LAX01FA004&rpt=fi


Thanks for enduring the long post!
 

USMC-SSGT

Well-Known Member
It looks to me like just an unfortunate situation. The pilot reported the field in site and then the controller cancelled the pilots IFR flight plan. At that point the pilot took it upon himself to maintain visual contact with the field and land visual which was his responsibility. The unfortunate part here is that when he cancelled IFR they dropped his block on the Dbrite which cancels out future altitude alarms not allowing them to be warned.
I am not a controller but when they saw that the pilot was having difficulties with the approach I dont believe they can tell him what to do only guide him. Being dissoriented he was making one of the biggest mistakes a pilot can make. His mistake was trying to salvage what started going wrong a ways back. Hindsight is always 20/20 but when things started going wrong a missed should have been executed immediately or the pilot should have asked for help. When the pilot reported the field in site it may have been an erroneous call that they were unsure of because on a simple VOR A approach there should have been no reason to lose the field in the conditions they were in (It was just under VFR.)

Who is at fault here? Primarily your cousin because he was the pilot flying and at the controls of the airplane. Secondary, was the instructor who was monitoring the progress of the flight. The instructor should have seen that all situational awareness was lost and taken control of the situation. The instructor may have had his hands full with the situation and also lost situational control or maybe they just thought they were ok and could get things figured out. A factor of course is the the instructor appeared to have less than 300 hours of flight experience which is VERY innexperienced and it was likely he was just as dissoriented as the pilot. I cant say the controller is at fault because I am not one. It seems the controller did a good job of keeping the pilots aware they were off track and getting them put back into a position where they could continue, the pilots did not help the situation by calling the field in site and the losing it on a few occasions. A low altitude alert would have been helpful but that of course did not happen.

My conclusion,
It is an unfortunate accident that mirrors THOUSANDS of accidents like it that occur so often in general aviation. That NTSB report seemed to nearly mirror so many reports I have read in the past. The bottom line was that things got out of control and when a missed should have been executed immediately but they thought they could salvage it. I would say most if not all pilots have salvaged an approach before but you only get lucky so many times. I would put the blame on your cousin though as he knew what he was getting into and responsble for when he got behind the controls. I think that if he were here today he would say the same thing and take the responsibility of this unfortunate situation.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
I've read both reports, and here's my take on the situation...

First, one must understand the air traffic controller's basic duty in life--to keep planes from running in to each other. Simple as that. Anything beyond that duty, such as advising pilots of the weather, warning them of nearby terrain, or advising a pilot who is off course is icing on the cake. If they do those things, great, but it shouldn't be expected of them.

With that in mind, I would say the controller's lack of a terrain warning might have been a contributing factor, but the controller is not at fault. Terrain awareness is the pilot's responsibility at all times and the controller should only be used as a backup.

That being said, I've met many pilots who do not know this about controllers, especially pilots with little experience, such as the two in this case. The pilot and instructor in this case might have thought the controller would warn them if they got too close to a mountain. I don't know. If that were the case, then who knows where to point the blame. Maybe it was poor previous training, maybe it was the pilot and instructors faults themselves.

As for the the pilot and instructors actions during this flight, it's hard to tell for sure what was going on. As USMC-SGT said, it is apparent they were disoriented. They were off course, in and out of the clouds, ending up on the wrong side of the airport, etc.

The weather conditions that night, according to the report, was a solid cloud layer somewhere between 1000-1500 feet off the ground. Visibility was somewhere between 1 and 2 miles.

Instrument approach procedures are basically a way to guide planes down through the clouds to a point where they can see the airport and land. With any procedure, it can only safely allow a pilot to get within a certain distance from the ground and must be flown with a minimum amount of visibility. In this case, the procedure they were flying required them to stay at least 800 feet off the ground and have at least 1 mile visibility until close enough to the airport to land.

This procedure is also something called a "circling approach" meaning it did not guide planes straight in to the runway. It guides planes in to the vicinity of the airport, then the planes must make a few turns and maneuver to get lined up with whatever runway they intend to land on. The reason this is of significance is because it somewhat complicates the procedure. In low visibility and clouds, in the process of circling to line up with the runway, the plane might fly back in to the clouds and the pilot lose sight of the airport.

So now if we tie it all together and imagine what's going on that night, the factors start to add up. A relatively inexperienced pilot is being taught by a very inexperienced instructor. They are descending through the clouds, south of the airport, flying north, approaching the minimum altitude for the approach. Maybe they start veering off course a little to the left, just as they break out of the clouds and see city lights under them. The clouds are at 1000 feet and they're barely under them, about 800 or 900 feet off the ground. The visibility is only 1 mile, which at night looks especially bad. Maybe they're both squinting out the front window, looking for the airport and think they see it. Maybe they see it, or maybe they see the lights of something else...we'll never know exactly. They tell the controller they have the airport in sight.

They start heading towards what they think is the airport and stop watching the guidance from the navigation instruments. Then the controller tells them they're off course and to turn to the east. This confuses them because they thought they were headed in the correct direction. They turn to the east and look to their navigation instruments, which don't make sense to them because they are so far from where they thought they were.

The instructor might be realizing that he's getting in over his head by now. Being disoriented, at night, with poor visibility, skimming the bases of the clouds, with somebody looking to you for guidance, is an overwhelming feeling. He probably didn't have a lot of time in the twin engine plane they were flying and although it isn't a speed demon, it is considerably faster than what the instructor was used to flying. Flying a faster plane means everything happens faster--it is easier to get off a particular altitude, the turning radius is wider, etc.

So now they're headed east and actually do have the airport in sight. For one reason or another, they get momentarily distracted. Maybe the checklist slipped off the pilot's lap on to the floor and they both look down to grab it, or something like that. In that moment, they accidentally climb a couple hundred feet and find themselves back in the clouds.

The instructor thinks, that's it, this isn't good, we're going to do a missed approach and tells the pilot to execute the missed approach procedure.

They look at the procedure and the first step is a turn to the left. They begin turning left and it takes a minute to start focusing on the instruments instead of looking out the window. Both the pilot and instructor are still a little disoriented. Now they're headed north. The controller tells them to make an immediate turn to the south. They level the wings for a minute to get the plane under control and realize that they've been flying level instead of climbing like they were supposed to. The twin engine plane is also faster than either of them is used to, so they've covered more ground than they expected.

Before either of them realize it, they're in to the side of the hills only a couple miles north of the airport.

See how there is no single cause of the accident?

Flying a circling approach at night in weather close to minimum allowed for the approach, in mountainous terrain, is a challenge. I would argue it's one of the harder operations that can be done in instrument flying. Neither pilot was very experienced. The pilot was instrument rated though, so he should have known what he was getting in to and could have opted to not fly the training flight that night. Or maybe he trusted that the instructor would keep them safe, while the instructor made a poor decision to get in over his head.

Or maybe the flight school should have had policies in place to prevent such inexperienced instructors from teaching in such challenging conditions. Maybe the instructor had never made such an approach before and didn't know how tough it can be. We don't know what either pilot was thinking leading up to the flight.

There are numerous factors and no single cause for any accident. In this case, the weather, controller, pilot, instructor, type of plane, and time of night all played a role. Take away any one of those things and it might have prevented the tragedy.

But if somebody is looking to assign a single source of blame, the pilot is pretty much who it boils down to. In this case, I doubt the pilot was incompetent, but at the same time, the pilot has the final say in every decision made. That's why the NTSB report reads the way it does.
 

teetee

New Member
Thank you! That explained a lot! I can see from the explanation how my brother-in-law said. He was always admant that it was my cousins fault while at the same time my aunt and uncle were positive after their review that it wasn't his fault. I always wondered how my brother-in-law would say it was completely my cousins fault while at the same time my aunt and uncle fought and "won" that it wasn't my cousins fault. Could it be possible that my cousin had said he was no longer feeling comfortable with the situation and turned control over to the instructor? Last night I was trying to remember everything I had heard from all different people about the crash. There is a vague memory from my aunt and uncle saying when they and the CFI parents listened to the audio both had agreed the one talking with controllers was the CFI not my cousin. I think the fact that my cousin chose to get in the airplane under the conditions that were present shows that he has a blame in the whole thing.

There has always been part of me that has honestly thought that my cousin held at least a part blame in this (although I would NEVER mention that to my aunt and uncle). He was extremely careful when flying but he did have his daring side. He would take risks but never when he as flying. My husband and I actually flew with my cousin in his plane in SLC. My husband always thought my cousin was a safe pilot.

Jeff, my cousin, was feeling pressure to finish his ratings up. If he happened to get an instructor that was a risk taker, it would have been really easy to take this "risk" cause he really wanted to get his multi as soon as possible to get his career moving. The day of the flight, my cousin had talked with his parents and told them they had cancelled the because of the weather. I have wondered if it was a situation where there was a brief break and they decided to take that chance, hoping to get in an hour of practice. I have heard of so many crashes that were avoidable but the person decided to take the risk with weather and conditions and lost.

I appreciate the detailed description, I think I finally understand how the crash could happen, if that makes sense! I hadn't really realized the flight was at night. I didn't know how when they came out of the clouds how they could not know where they were and mistake something else for the airport. Now that I understand it was at night, I understand more. No one had ever explained it was night time. My husband has often told me how hard and disorienting night flights can be, add the weather and other factor and I get it. Thanks!
 

CoffeeIcePapers

Well-Hung Member
Usually when accidents happen, the lawyers swoop in an sue everyone and everything that ever touched the airplane. Its unfortunate, but it sounds like it was your cousin's fault. When you get a jury of uneducated people making decisions about aircraft accidents, you get these kind of results.
 

teetee

New Member
I just had it pointed out to me in the ATC section that on the PDF file, it lists the PIC as the CFI and the NTSB found that the cause was the CFI and all three ATCers. I now fully understand why my aunt and uncle say he is not at fault. However, getting in the plane under those conditions does make it that he is partly at fault because he chose to fly in those conditions.

To mods - sorry I did post this in both the general and ATC section. I really wanted input from both ATC and pilots and I have found that for some reason the ATC don't venture often into the pilots (general) section. Or at least if they do, I never see any posts by them.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
Could it be possible that my cousin had said he was no longer feeling comfortable with the situation and turned control over to the instructor? Last night I was trying to remember everything I had heard from all different people about the crash. There is a vague memory from my aunt and uncle saying when they and the CFI parents listened to the audio both had agreed the one talking with controllers was the CFI not my cousin.
It's possible that your cousin turned control over to the instructor, although there's no way to know for sure. It's not very common for a pilot who is further along in training, such as your cousin, to ask the instructor to completely take over, but it's not unheard of either.

It's also very possible that the instructor was the one talking to the controllers, although this doesn't indicate anything in particular. Sometimes the person talking is also flying the plane, sometimes not. On some training flights, especially during more challenging times, the instructor will take over talking on the radio in order to let the pilot in training focus entirely on flying the plane and not having to worry about what to say. We'll never know exactly why one was talking versus the other in this case.

There has always been part of me that has honestly thought that my cousin held at least a part blame in this (although I would NEVER mention that to my aunt and uncle). He was extremely careful when flying but he did have his daring side. He would take risks but never when he as flying. My husband and I actually flew with my cousin in his plane in SLC. My husband always thought my cousin was a safe pilot.

Jeff, my cousin, was feeling pressure to finish his ratings up. If he happened to get an instructor that was a risk taker, it would have been really easy to take this "risk" cause he really wanted to get his multi as soon as possible to get his career moving. The day of the flight, my cousin had talked with his parents and told them they had cancelled the because of the weather. I have wondered if it was a situation where there was a brief break and they decided to take that chance, hoping to get in an hour of practice. I have heard of so many crashes that were avoidable but the person decided to take the risk with weather and conditions and lost.
All the things you're saying could be true. Your cousin and/or the instructor might have been unnecessarily daring. Or they might have taken risks for the sake of finishing training sooner.

However, it's important to know there are many other equally likely scenarios. It's possible that one or both of them might have been trained incompletely during their initial instrument training and they weren't taught the hazards involved with this type of approach.

Or the instructor might have done fine with this type of approach had he been the one flying by himself, but doing something by oneself is very different from teaching that skill to another person. Talking somebody through a complicated procedure takes more focus and division of attention than simply doing it by oneself.

Or maybe the instructor would have been fine except that he might have been working at the end of a long day and his fatigue caught up to him, deteriorating his mental skills needed to teach safely.

Or maybe they simply had more confidence than skills. What I mean is, it's very common for inexperienced pilots to overestimate their ability to handle a task. Just like any learning process in life, inexperienced pilots often don't know how much they don't know. They might have been aware that it would be a challenging flight, then taken off in to conditions they both legitimately thought they could handle, not realizing they were in over their heads until it was too late.

There was nothing inherently wrong with what they were doing. When I look at this accident report, I don't see any shocking, "What the heck were these guys thinking?" stupid actions. In some accidents the pilots clearly had no business doing what they were attempting to do, but I don't believe your cousin's case is one of those.

Unfortunately there are questions left unanswered with every crash. I tend to give pilots the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Just some things to think about.
 

tinman

Well-Known Member
I went to school there shortly after this happened. The way I remember his fellow workers putting it, it basically boiled down to a barely over 200 hour TT instructor getting in over his head in a mountainous area, in actual conditions.
 

teetee

New Member
Tinman, if you remember any more about it, I would love to know.

I guess I need to understand more of the process as well. An instructor that has 200 TT is really low on hours? Is that like the bare minimum for CFI or something? I thought he was a MEII, was I wrong? How did he have so many ratings and so little experience is I guess what I am asking. If I were looking for an instrument instructor, wIould I want to find a CFII that had many hours actually flying IVR, not just high hours?

I also am getting different understanding from everything. From reading the NTSB report (and from what my brother-in-law had told me), I got the understanding that they were flying in iffy conditions, yet others on here have said it was good conditions for what he was working on, other than it being nighttime. Could that just be individual judgement call? Overall, was the thing that went wrong that they chose to fly later at night than they should have; or from what is listed, were the conditions the right conditions for what he was trying to accomplish? Did he need nighttime, ME instrument time?

My cousin had his Single Engine Instrument Rating but he wasn't rated for a ME. Does that make a difference when flying approaches (another than the speed as indicated above).

So in the end, even though the NTSB found the PIC to be the CFI and Jeff was not listed as a person of fault, he could have still be the PIC between him and the CFI? Don't get me wrong, I would love to see the situation and say it was the plane or someone else, not Jeff, but I am looking at this with my eyes opened trying to make a unbiased, knowledgeable decision on something I have always wondered and questioned.

I wanted to clarify: my aunt and uncle never sued for money. The attorney tried to get them to but they didn't want money, they only wanted their son's name cleared from fault. They didn't hire the attorney until something happened between the school and them, I don't remember all of the situation though. It had something to do with the schools insurance. After solving that situation, the attorney helped them with the NTSB stuff they wanted(of course for a pretty penny). I didn't want anyone on here thinking my aunt and uncle were in it to money grub. They weren't.
 

SpiraMirabilis

Possible Subversive
I always preferred taking my students up in poor visual conditions if they were working on their instrument rating. 1 hour in actual IMC is worth 5 or 10 under the hood I always said. However, you as the CFI-I need to have extremely good situational awareness about where exactly you are at all times -- especially if there is terrain nearby.

Perhaps he did not actually have the field in sight when he said he did. Some pilots feel pressured to respond in an affirmitive when asked if they have the airport in sight, even if they don't. I don't understand it but I've seen it happen numerous times.

As I understand it Jeff did not have his instrument rating yet? Then, in my opinion the CFI would be responsible for what happens on that flight considering he is teaching him appropriate procedures. He (the CFI) either was unable to rectify a situation that developed where his student placed him in a dangerous situation or his teaching was faulty or both. Generally speaking if there is a CFI on board it will always be his or her fault in any accidents, at least I've found that to be the case when reviewing NTSB reports.
 

SpiraMirabilis

Possible Subversive
So in the end, even though the NTSB found the PIC to be the CFI and Jeff was not listed as a person of fault, he could have still be the PIC between him and the CFI? Don't get me wrong, I would love to see the situation and say it was the plane or someone else, not Jeff, but I am looking at this with my eyes opened trying to make a unbiased, knowledgeable decision on something I have always wondered and questioned.
My 61 and 91 FARs are a little rusty but I don't believe Jeff could have acted as the PIC while in instrument conditions unless he has an instrument rating. If he is not instrument rated, or even if he is but not instrument current there has to be someone onboard who is qualified to act as PIC (in this case the CFI-I.)
Edit: Oh, just saw you said he had his Instrument rating. If he had 'Multi-engine VFR only' as a limitation on his certificate then he could not act as PIC in a ME aircraft in IFR. Otherwise he could, so long as he was current.
 

teetee

New Member
I don't think it stated in the NTSB reports if he was rated or not for Instrument. I thought he has his single engine instrument but not me instrument, but I honestly could be wrong.

The PIC does make sense when you explained the instrument stuff. A couple weeks back my husband was able to log a couple hours as PIC cause he was the safety pilot with his brother-in-law that needed to get recurrent on Instrument and instrument approaches. I hadn't really thought about that in this situation. That makes sense now. Thanks!

I just checked the report again to verify. My cousin did have his single engine ppl, insrument and commercial. He was at the school for multi, complex and multi/complex instrument. Since he was instrument rated but not rated for that plane, he couldn't be listed as PIC. However, I know he was in the left seat that was ejected from the plane because his body was found outside the wreckage. I didn't know that his entire seat was ejected from the plane.

Jeff's body was in the morgue in LA for 10 days because the LA transit strike prevented the coroner from being able to have the body transported back to Utah without problems. Also, the school didn't notify my aunt and uncle until the 8th of October that Jeff was dead, the crash was on the 6th of October.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
An instructor that has 200 TT is really low on hours? Is that like the bare minimum for CFI or something? I thought he was a MEII, was I wrong? How did he have so many ratings and so little experience is I guess what I am asking.
Just because a pilot can pass a checkride for a certain rating doesn't necessarily qualify them to handle every possible situation. Having a particular certificate means that they at least meet a minimum standard. Having lots of experience makes them safer than the minimum standards (generally speaking).

I also am getting different understanding from everything. From reading the NTSB report (and from what my brother-in-law had told me), I got the understanding that they were flying in iffy conditions, yet others on here have said it was good conditions for what he was working on, other than it being nighttime. Could that just be individual judgement call? Overall, was the thing that went wrong that they chose to fly later at night than they should have; or from what is listed, were the conditions the right conditions for what he was trying to accomplish?
I doubt they were doing this for any particular training requirement, other than getting proficient at flying approaches in a twin engine plane.

As far as being iffy or safe, you're right, it's a judgement call. Flying is just like any other profession with shades of gray. In medicine, one doctor might look at a patient and have one treatment, while another doctor believes in a very different treatment for different reasons.

In this case, some pilots would say they had too little experience to be flying in those conditions, other pilots would say they were doing a great job, because experience can't be gained while sitting on the ground. It's just different attitudes and perspectives you're hearing.

As far as the thing that went wrong, flying late at night, or something else, nobody knows. That's my point with my first message. Accidents don't happen because of one single thing. Accidents are a result of a lot of ingredients put together. I'm sure the night time was a factor, but it wasn't necessarily *the* reason. There is no "the" reason to point to.
 

SpiraMirabilis

Possible Subversive
It doesn't matter which seat you're sitting in. When I rent an airplane to fly a family member around for fun I usually sit in the right seat just cause I'm so used to flying from the right seat from airline and CFIing.
 

teetee

New Member
I understand there is no "the" point and I will admit, I was trying to find it, even though it is intangible. I was hoping that by reading this (something I have obviously avoided for almost 8 years now) that I would be able to see something in it. Now I just see it was just a bad recipe that didn't have the right ingredients to succeed. No matter how I want to rearrange it all, in the end, for the situation they were in, they didn't have the knowledge to get back out of it on there own. Part of me wonders if they had admitted to disorientation and possibly even declared emergency for help, the situation would have possibly turned out different.

I can definitely tell you that this has given me a new awareness of my husband flying. He has gone up enough that panic doesn't ensue immediately if he is landing 20 minutes later than normal. Poor guy is gonna be mad I read this cause now I will be a basket case when he is late. It becomes a bit scarrier, but it can't be something that rules my life (or my husband's flying life).
 

Itchy

Well-Known Member
If I had to pin blame, I would pin it squarely on the instructor.

No ifs or buts, it was HIS OR HER's airplane, plane and simple. Atc is there to help, but it has to be asked for.
 

PaulRix

Well-Known Member
I don't have anything to add except that I am sorry you lost your cousin. I know how hard it is to read through the accident report when it is someone you are close to who was lost. My younger brother was lost 5 years ago in a flying accident and being a pilot meant that I had to spend a lot of time explaining the subsequent findings to other members of my family. I think it is a good thing that you want to get a full understanding of what happened to your cousin. It certainly helped me come to terms with what happened to my brother.
 

teetee

New Member
Sorry about your brother! It would be extra hard having to explain the details with family members, while at the same time it would help heal. Reading this made me sad but it also brought knowledge. Yeah we miss him, but isn't debilitating in any way. There were many blessing with his death, one being he didn't have children. This time of year we always think of him a little more and smile at all the crazy things he would do (like get his truck and boat stuck in mud on the boat ramp he decided to "make" off the cabin road to the lake). He was fun loving and the memories with him were very happy memories. You can't ask for better than that, Jeff did a lot in his 26 years!

As I have tried to understand the world of flying, it is amazing to see how many people loose close friends and in the end, most of the time it makes them a better pilot. In most other careers if you saw that many friends and people you know die or get injured you would walk away. I think most pilots see that it is a possibility so they are willing to work harder to have as much knowledge as possible. When you plane is in peril, that knowledge becomes power.

My father in law was a Bush Pilot in Alaska for a couple years for basically the summer months. He has flown his entire life and the only accident with passenger injuries was in Alaska. There was an icing problem when he was taking off. All walked away from it (the worse was a broken nose). The plane actually sat in the same place he crashed it for something like 20 years, and for all any of us know, it could still be there! A little before his accident, another plane with colleuges and passengers had done the same thing. They were not able to save the plane and all passengers and crew died. My father in law had studied that crash and talked with others about what they could do to save themselves in a similar situation. It was only because he studied it that he was able to walk away from that crash!

A while back, my husband's uncle finished his flight to Brussels for Kalitta Air. The CA and FO that took over for him had problems with the planes mechanics/structure and the plane crashed on the run way. If I remember correctly the plane broke in half or something like that. He was saying he was lucky that the problem mechanical/structural problem didn't happen with him when landing or while in air.

My father in law won't talk about plane crashes other than to learn from them. All his sons fly, as well as his father, brothers and himself. When talk of this plane or that plane incident/accident is brought up, he becomes sullen. He counsels that everyone needs to study the report and learn from it, then he changes the subject. He has lost a few friends and had close calls himself (most recently in the G3). I really look up to my father in law as a pilot. He really knows his stuff when in the air. If I were to be in a bad situation on a plane, I would hope and pray the pilot was as good as my father in law.

I think sometimes it is easy to forget for non-pilots (and unfortunately even sometimes pilots themselves) that being a pilot is a dangerous job. I think most people aren't scared of flying and don't realize or forget that although technology has made planes really rather safe and somewhat comfortable, it has also made them faster and it is still dangerous. Just like getting in a car is (but most people put that in the back of their minds as they drive to work). I really admire pilots for airliners. I know I would be a basket case if I was in charge of flying something with 200+ people on board! When my car is full with 8 people I worry!
 

Tiger815

Well-Known Member
If I had to pin blame, I would pin it squarely on the instructor.

No ifs or buts, it was HIS OR HER's airplane, plane and simple. Atc is there to help, but it has to be asked for.
Dead nuts correct. The CFI was PIC. The student was not qualified to act as PIC as he was not rated in multi-engine aircraft.

This CFI it seems was A) just as lost as his student, or B) Never took any action as PIC or C) both of the above.

When flying with a student pilot in actual IMC, just how f'd-up can you let an approach get? Personally, I'd be doing something long before it was bad enough for ATC to start asking what the hell we were up to.

You can let a student make mistakes all over the place in simulated conditions but in actual a CFI needs to take control as soon as things start going off the rails otherwise they are just a passenger on a potential hay ride to hell.
 
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