View Full Version : OT a bit-lesson in density altitude (and the dumbest AC crash Ive ever heard of-pix)

07-23-2006, 12:37 PM
I took these 3 photos of a 1965 vintage Cessna 172 at our local airport. Looks more like someone threw a grenade in it while it was parked on the tarmac, but this machine fell outta the air due to the pilots INCREDIBLE lack of awareness of density altitude effects on lift and engine performance. Amazingly, nobody died, and only minor injuries to the 3 occupants.

19 yr old guy wants to propose to his 18 yr old gf by writing it on a sheet and hiring a plane to fly over it. Yeah, one sheet, all that writing..will you marry me etc. So the pilot has to go really low for her to see it, flaps down, right over the main hangars and parking area when the temp is 103 F.


This is a different view that shows one of hte hangars. He barely missed the huge WW2 vintage hangar (not visible here) that was loaded with twins, jets, fueled etc. About the time he got out the ring, the lift mysteriously disapeared from under the bird's wings, it cartwheeled onto the parking area, narrowly missing a C-47 and several other planes parked nearby, as well as the deli and the terminal blding itself. This place is well above sea level also.


07-23-2006, 12:40 PM
Ah. So that's why long haul 747 flights like to take off at 6 AM in the Midle East.

07-23-2006, 12:40 PM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gifYou can see it wasn't going forward very fast....

07-23-2006, 12:46 PM
yeah, and here is a close up....the engine caught fire, but it didnt reach the tanks. A couple of off duty firemen were just hanging out there, and they and other airport people got the pilot out. The 19 yr old bf pulled his gf out and told her to get away from it (good thinking) then collapsed. the fire was put out quickly and all were hauled out on ambulances.

In the back of the ambulance she told an EMT to tell her bf she said yes. I guess theyll be on Oprah now for all that romantic horse c r a p.
Anyway, the pilot that did this (now get this) was a blasted flight instructor.

Ill spare you what I know my late Dad would say about that. Im kinda amazed they got out no worse off than this. Any higher and it would have been worse.

07-23-2006, 01:16 PM
thats awesome, i love seeing cessnas destroyed. woo down with cessnas! underpowered pieces of Sht

07-23-2006, 02:31 PM
You'd think he'd have figured out he'd have lift problems when he saw his wing twisted up like a lemon wedge..but thats just me.
I tend to notice things like that before I take off.

07-23-2006, 02:49 PM
I am reminded of the old saying:

Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous, but to an even greater degree then the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any incapacity, inability, or neglect.

However, this seems to have very little to do with density altitude - he just seems to have stalled it in.

The wonderful thing about airspeed indicators is that they don't really care about altitude (density or otherwise). If it stalls at 40 knots IAS at zero feet, it'll stall at 40 knots IAS at 10,000 feet.

Of course, at high density altitudes, you'll have less power with which to effect recovery. And your recovery will require more space due to your higher TAS.

<span class="ev_code_red">But you shouldn't stall the blasted thing in the first place!</span>

It's not as though Cessnas don't give you plenty of warning of an impending stall...

There really is no excuse for this sort of accident.

Bruce Landsberg, AOPA Safety Foundation is quoted as saying:

Mix ignorance with arrogance at low altitude and the results are almost guaranteed to be spectacular.

This simply serves to prove his point.

The guy flying it seems to have given himself no margin for error. Which is of course the first error. The second generally follows all too quickly.

Chuck Yeager said it best:

Always leave yourself a way out.

07-23-2006, 04:35 PM
I saw a very close call about fifteen years ago caused by density altitude. My dad and I flew one of our cousins home to El Paso, Texas in my dad's V-35B. The small airport had a very narrow paved runway (fifty feet, if I recall).

It was July, and an airshow had just finished when we landed. Lots of folks were leaving. The density altitude was almost 13,000 feet (the FBO had a LARGE sign showing the current DA).

Four people climb into a Cessna 182...all adults, full fuel, with baggage. The pilot rotated about three-fourths of the way down the runway,but the plane didn't lift. As they neared the end, he tried to force it off the ground. He flew in ground effect for quite a ways, then they disappeared as the ground fell away about a half-mile out. Many of us thought they had crashed, but about a minute later they rose into view. They still hadn't made much altitude when they disappeared in the distance. Very scary...

07-23-2006, 04:57 PM
those got damn cessnas

07-23-2006, 06:38 PM
Originally posted by Stackhouse25th:
thats awesome, i love seeing cessnas destroyed. woo down with cessnas! underpowered pieces of Sht

AMEN to that my brother! Pity about the airplane, and stupidity, glad everyone's okay.

07-23-2006, 10:50 PM
Cessnas do just fine if you know how to fly them.
Vast majority of my hours are in C-172s. In the case of the pilot trying to take off at 13,000 ft. density altitude, this scares me. Fully loaded he should have filled his tanks only half full at best. Personally I wouldn't take off in a C-172 fully fueled and loaded even at a density altitude of 5,000 feet!!! Not unless I had a huge bunch of runway, such as at a large airport that jets fly out of.

07-23-2006, 11:05 PM
Did she say yes?

07-24-2006, 03:54 AM
That's a nice damage model
but I like this one.



Ruy Horta
07-24-2006, 11:01 AM
Why doesn't he get any praise for missing the hangar and other buildings?!

07-24-2006, 12:18 PM
Because the accident was the direct result of his stupidity, and everyone survived.

What I want to know is how they cleared the swarm of lawyers away from the wreckage long enough to take the pictures...



07-25-2006, 05:44 AM
UPDATE......(teletype sound in background, overly dramatic NBC theme reverberates).
Now time for the redneck news, from your backwater news pros....Elwood P. Suggins on the job. (picture Jonathan Winters character in coveralls)......

Yeah, she said yes. Of course she would, it's law around here that chicks gotta be married before they're 19 and get knocked up before they're 20....at least twice.


I mosied on out to the airport on my moped sunday to see what was flying, and there was this crowd of people....every relative of both families and some TV chick (hot brunette) and a cameraman and some others.....And they were doing some hoakey interview with them all snookems etc. I wanted to puke, but I knew what was coming. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

They were on the Today show yesteday morning....I knew this would happen. THey'll be all over the blasted tv now, probably make CNN.They or thier families dont have the foggiest idea how close to burning to death they both came for that stupid stunt. How romantic.....all over the US dumb broads are hassling thier boyfriends to do that for them, hoping that they crash and get to do all this publicity ****.

numb nuts has a piece of the AC he's keeping as a souvenier. I know the guy that owned that machine (i flew in it 10 yrs ago with him) and this is the second one he's rented out that has been destroyed by some moron. I bet he's not too pleased. His charter bsness is down to two now. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/touche.gif

07-25-2006, 06:35 AM
There must be some serious problem with the way aeroclubs teach people to fly planes. I think a lot of people get pilots licenses and fly planes without really understanding how the plane stays in the air. Unless you know why a plane is staying in the air you won't know when it will decide to come back down.

07-25-2006, 06:38 AM
"Maintain thine airspeed;
Lest the Earth
Rise up and Smite Thee."

07-25-2006, 08:25 AM
I wouldn't be so hard on the pilot. There's a good chance he's never even heard of Il-2. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

That was only 25% a joke. We have a better environment for learning about this stuff. We can hit "refly", for one. Secondly, and I'm just making an assumption here, we are not about to propose to our sweethearts when we turn on ur pc's.

I did, however, learn something from his mistake. I never fly IL-2 without turning the air conditioning on 5 minutes before I fly. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif


07-25-2006, 09:02 AM
Originally posted by BOA_Allmenroder:
"Maintain thine airspeed;
Lest the Earth
Rise up and Smite Thee."