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Author Topic: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight  (Read 15863 times)

Greg Daspit

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Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« on: July 23, 2014, 03:18:22 PM »

teen pilot dies in Pacific crash in round-the-world attempt
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Jeff Scott

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2014, 11:34:36 PM »

I hadn't heard of this world flight attempt, but it had a sad ending in the Pacific Ocean.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/07/23/haris-suleman-teen-attempting-world-flight-record-killed-in-plane-crash/
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Dan Swift

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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2014, 06:53:20 AM »

No indication of a primary cause yet but they went into the water a mile from the end of the runway at Pago.  It sounds like it almost had to be engine failure (most engine failures occur at the first reduction in power after takeoff).  A survivable ditching should have been possible in the A36 unless the sea was rough or unless they tried to turn back for the airport and fell victim to a classic stall/spin. 
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2014, 06:59:33 AM »

No indication of a primary cause yet but they went into the water a mile from the end of the runway at Pago.  It sounds like it almost had to be engine failure (most engine failures occur at the first reduction in power after takeoff).  A survivable ditching should have been possible in the A36 unless the sea was rough or unless they tried to turn back for the airport and fell victim to a classic stall/spin.
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JNev

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2014, 08:08:21 AM »

Very sad, sorry to hear of this loss.
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Monty Fowler

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2014, 08:21:06 AM »

"Annie Hayat said the plane flown by 17-year-old Haris Suleman went down shortly after leaving Pago Pago in American Samoa Tuesday night."

A nighttime, no-power ditching ... ANY pilot would have a hard time pulling that one off successfully. Catch a wave the wrong way and you instantly nose under, or the plane cartwheels and tears itself to shreds. Murphy's Law is alive and well, unfortunately.

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JNev

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2014, 10:42:34 AM »

"Annie Hayat said the plane flown by 17-year-old Haris Suleman went down shortly after leaving Pago Pago in American Samoa Tuesday night."

A nighttime, no-power ditching ... ANY pilot would have a hard time pulling that one off successfully. Catch a wave the wrong way and you instantly nose under, or the plane cartwheels and tears itself to shreds. Murphy's Law is alive and well, unfortunately.

LTM,
Monty Fowler, TIGHAR No. 2189 ECSP

Do we know that it was "no power", or is that merely surmised? 

Maybe it was - but I missed that if we do know it.  "Controlled Flight Into Terrain" (or water) happens also, for a variety of reasons.  Night take-offs with departure over water can be very disorienting, especially for inexperienced pilots.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2014, 10:46:47 AM »

Anybody know how much time the father had?
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John Wallace

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2014, 11:40:33 AM »

Father had 1650 hours.
http://www.razoo.com/story/Flying-Round-The-World-For-Education
He had almost 450 hours by 2008 when he had to land on interstate after engine failure.
http://flyaroundtheworldin30days.com/?p=11

Father seems to have been source of idea as it was on his bucket list to fly solo around the world.

Very sad case.   They had already raised 500k of one million charity goal of flight, among other things.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2014, 11:47:00 AM »

He had almost 450 hours by 2008 when he had to land on interstate after engine failure.

I'd want to know more about that engine failure.  Engines rarely quit without warning.  In investigating accidents due to engine failures I found that many pilots that experienced engine failures had been ignoring signs of a sick engine for some time.

Of course, we don't know that this was an engine failure  - but it seems likely.
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John Wallace

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2014, 12:22:08 PM »

More generally, in case anyone interested, flight hours of last two out three pilots to got/getting guiness youngest solo circumnavigation:

450 hours:
http://blog.aopa.org/opinionleaders/2014/06/27/daring-greatly-a-young-aviators-dream-helps-fund-the-dreams-of-others/

500 hours:
http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2014/05/limitless-horizons-matt-guthmiller.html

Also, did not realize this myself until getting background on flight awards but, under federal law, you now have to be licensed pilot and medical to even touch controls of plane if you are attempting flight record or aviation feat.
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title49/html/USCODE-2011-title49-subtitleVII-partA-subpartiii-chap447-sec44724.htm
Law passed after tragic 1996 crash:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_Dubroff

On a happier note, anyone who is a certificated pilot (who joins FAI) can get FAI circumnavigation diploma as long as they were aboard the whole flight and were actively engaged in flying the aircraft (eg no PIC requirement for the diploma.)
http://naa.aero/userfiles/files/documents/Downloads/Circumnavigator%20Diploma%202012.pdf

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Jeff Scott

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2014, 10:54:48 PM »

Some additional information in this article...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/07/24/father-and-son-round-the-world-flight-ends-in-tragedy-in-the-pacific/

The comment about the engine running rough before the trip began and the final takeoff occurring after dark may be contributing factors.

This quote seems odd: "the air traffic controller saw the lights of the plane go down about 23 miles off American Samoa."  I wonder if the author meant "2-3 miles."
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2014, 06:37:31 AM »

A couple of pieces of new information may shed some light on what happened.  One of the boy's last tweets was "No fuel in Kiritimati, going from New Caledonia to Pago Pago, then direct Hawaii.  That's about 21 hours of flying in two days." and a witness report says the plane was flying low and suddenly just dove into the ocean.

Pago Pago direct Hawaii is over 2,600 miles (2,400 nautical miles).  As I recall, that's just about maximum range for the Bonanza as they had it configured, so you know they were extremely heavy coming out of Pago.  The witness report that they were flying low may mean they were actually staggering along in ground effect (just as Earhart did after the takeoff at Lae). Night makes it worse. Under those conditions you don't need an engine failure or even an engine hiccup to bring the plane down.  You're on the ragged edge.  The slightest error and the airplane stalls.  Too low to recover.  End of story.

No fuel at Kiritimati a big surprise?  It's almost impossible to find avgas anywhere in the Central Pacific.  Everybody out there uses turbine equipment.  Did somebody tell them there was avgas at Kiritimati and they only learned otherwise later?  Or did they not check before they planned their route? This was a major screw up.  Suddenly instead of two 1,400 mile hops from Samoa to Hawaii you're faced with a 2,600 mile nonstop leg. And you choose to make the over-gross takeoff in the dark? 
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Dan Swift

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Re: Teen pilot and father killed on circumnavigation flight
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2014, 07:21:39 AM »

I had enough trouble trusting the fuel quality here in the States at some rural airports.  And, having been one of those fueling planes on the ramp during my college days, I can see how easy it can be messed up.  In fact, we had a rash of crashes in the '70's here in the Atlanta area of planes coming out of PDK and crashing in downtown from contaminated gas.  In two cases they put gas in a turboprop.   Makes me wonder about water or trash in the fuel.  AC engines don't like that very much. 
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