Plane crash in Idaho




Looks like the plane got airborne in ground effect, but had trouble gaining altitude. My first thought is that it was overloaded.

The Stinson 108-3 has an empty weight of 1,300 pounds, a gross weight of 2,400 pounds, and carries 50 gallons of fuel. So they had 1,100 pounds to play with, minus 300 pounds of fuel if they had full tanks; 800 pounds left for the pilot, passengers, and baggage. The passengers didn’t look that hefty, so I’m guessing they weren’t over-gross.

But it looked like high country, and it might have been a bit warm. Density altitude may have been rather high, so they aircraft might have been too heavy for the conditions. This is armchair post-crash analysis, of course. I’d be interested in reading the NTSB report when it comes out.

After reading the article:

Yeah. Warm day, high altitude, possible mountain wind conditions.

Gotta watch out for that rapidly loose altitude…

I’m still waking up, and also crunching data. Too early for me to detect quoted errors – or my own in the OP.

I concur.

Eons ago, my flight instructor was kidnapped. 4 prisoners escaped near his airport in Tennessee, made their way to his airport, and forced him to fly them to Arkansas. Now Mel was not a small guy, and he tried to tell them that 5 guys in a 182 just wasn’t going to make it. They didn’t care and forced him to take them.

Later, he told me he hit a treetop on the way out, and never made it above 600 feet, scared shitless the whole time. Gas ran out and he had to find a field in the country in the dark with a shotgun to his side.

Mel never liked to talk about that day much.

It wasn’t a dig at your proofreading or spelling - just a wiseass comment. Really. I may be nice, dammit, but I’m not above being an occasional wiseass.

And I know all about taking off with an almost overloaded plane when it’s a tad warm. I was piloting a 172 from San Diego to Oakland with 3 friends and their luggage aboard. I wasn’t specific enough about “Don’t pack too much stuff!!” We made the trip safely, but that poor plane climbed veeeeerrrrrrrry sllllooooooooowly… :eek:

I’m going with stupid pilot. Takes forever to get airborn? Once airborn you are barely climbing? Thats two hints right there that you are overwieght and now isn’t the time to be heading out over the trees and mountains and terrain that is rising faster than you are. Some lucky bastards right there.

I think the problem was that they hit a bunch of trees. Up until then it didn’t look too bad.


I know you were commenting on the misspelling in the article. But when I went back and read what I wrote, I saw that I made a typo as well (‘they’ instead of ‘the’).

Say… What’s a mountain goat doing way up here in a cloud bank?

I love these lucky bastards that make it down in traffic.

I remember that one. Posted here on the board, wasn’t it? Good thing there were no cars!

{slight hijack}

I love that cartoon… it’s been the desktop pic on my laptop for the last few months !
{/slight hijack}

Okay… saw the vid. I was scared just watching that long take-off roll and the horrible climb performance.

I haven’t been flying long, but I think I would have aborted when the plane didn’t get airborne in the (approx) first 3500’ of roll. Looked like there was still a lot runway (or, at least treeless area) ahead of them at that point.

(I hope I wouldn’t have overloaded my bird in the first place… still being incredibly conservative in my flight planning.)

Possible stoopid question here…but why are there no voices on the vid. There seems to be audio because I can hear the crash and the tumbling but no one is saying, “ooooooohhhhhh fuuuuuuuucccckkkkk”???

It’s possible they had the gain turned down because of the noisy environment. I was wondering about it as well.

Incidentally, there’s a Stinson 108 for sale on eBay. No reserve, and opening bid is $22,000. Older, less powerful model than the accident aircraft, but it would be tempting if I had the money!

Thats not the one “covered in blood and tree sap and slightly crumpled” is it ? :slight_smile:

A friend of mine’s father and his SO had a similar experience. They took off from Coeur d’Alene, headed for Canada, early spring. They crashed in the Northern Idaho wilderness. The pilot remembered seeing the trees that sheared off his wings.
They only had the clothes on their backs and business clothes.
They turned on the locator beacon every 15 minutes for three days.
They were rescued on day three, but neither remembered the rescue.

The rescurers ( Air national guard, I think) said they were both alert and oriented through the whole rescue.

I can’t find the link right now, but I saw a place where someone had computed the density altitude for that strip using that day’s exact weather observations. The density altitude was somewhere above 8000 feet, I think closer to 9000 feet. They should never have tried taking off in the first place. And if the math isn’t convincing enough, the fact that they settled back to the runway a couple of times should’ve been enough of a clue to anybody that it was time to abort.

I’m at BOI heading back home. This happened during our stay here. It was all over the news. The pilot and passengers got lucky this time.

I’m not a pilot, but it looked like the pilot had more than enough time to realize that taking off was a bad idea, and plenty of space to have made a safe (and maybe even undamaged) landing.

Also, it appeared to me that the plane was shaking in its last moments in the air – isn’t that indicative of a stall? Would a big downdraft cause a stall, or just push a plane that hasn’t stalled down into the ground?

Also, I suppose it could have been the camera rather than the plane doing the shaking.

Interestingly, my father died in a very similar crash within a few miles of this site. In 1960 it was, trying to get an overloaded, underpowered aircraft off one of those wilderness airstrips in the heat of the day. In that case, the terrain was so rugged and the site so remote that while the bodies were removed no effort was made to salvage the plane…it’s still there- what’s left of it lo these 50-odd years later.

The error is typical of fools,greenhorns and hubristic flatland flyers. That spectral figure at the end of the runway was probably the shade of my old man waving them off and yelling "Don’t try it you fool"l!!