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Captain Coffee

Pilot Error again. Icon A5 crash.

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Our local small aircraft company here in the SF north bay, Icon...lost another aircraft, with a customer this time, and a high profile one at that. I'm not a sports fan so Roy Halladay is just a low hours pilot (who got in over his head?)... to me, but my sincere condolences to his family, friends and fans.

 

This happened a day or so ago, and I'm relieved it seems to be a case of gross pilot error. Icon A5's look like  fun aircraft and I hope they aren't going to get a bad rap over these recent accidents. I wonder if they are so fun they seem "sprightlier" than they are actually rated to perform...perhaps encouraging this pilot's overconfidence/bad judgement?

The last accident was two employees who either made a wrong turn into a box canyon, or thought the plane could pull out of it...and couldn't...perhaps they are a bit under powered?

 

 

https://www.flyingmag.com/eyewitness-roy-halladay-was-performing-aerobatics-before-fatal-crash

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I feel sorry for the guy(RIP) and his family :( but from what I understand he had a tendency to fly in situations that were quite dangerous for this kind of aircraft.

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Reminiscent of the demise of John Denver.  New to the AC, perhaps not very familiar with it and decided sea-skimming looked like great fun.

 

For another famous baseball player who got in over his head, with too little experience in too much airplane, check here...  

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thurman_Munson

 

A no-flaps approach in a Citation is not a brilliant idea.

 

It was a long time ago and really hasn't all that much in common with the Icon accident except both were baseball players and both were relatively inexperienced, particularly in the AC they were flying.   In my opinion, there's much more in common with Denver than with Munson.

 

John

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A sad demise for sure, overconfidence is often the precursor to an accident like this sadly. A strange thing is that whilst many pilots love to show just how low they can go, (And I have to admit I do that as well at times,) Many racing yacht and powerboat crews do their best to get OUT of the water! Occasionally the two elements get things wrong and the results are catastrophic. 

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I love this aircraft and when I win the lottery it is what I would want to buy. Reminicent of the SeeBee it looks like s lot of fun.

 

Perhaps the manufactures are giving off the wrong signals in likening the aircraft to a jet ski. Those watercraft are if anything over powered and tempt people to throw them about the water. 

 

And remember that Jet skis kill a fair few people themselves.

 

Sad loss of life.

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I agree J.G. . It's the kind of versatile aircraft I'd like to have, cept i'd want something more Airplane-y and less Jet-ski-y... :D A venerable C-185 Amphib would be more my style.

 

Looking at their site you can see how these might appeal to Non-pilots, especially those a bit put off by the usual complicated looking aircraft cockpit...these look like Very Expensive Sports Cars inside, and at a price comparable to Lamborghinis... I suspect that VESC buyers are their target market.

 

The marketing does make them look "fun and zippy". Maybe they should back off of that just a bit during the Marketing Phase of attracting A5 Pilots to reduce rich idjits buying them and "crashing their image", rather than planning to train that attitude out of them during the A5 Flight School phase (can't teach a dumb dog a new trick basically is my point here)...as well, adding some/more Idiot Lights and buzzers might help?...like an internal AI that detects when some idjit starts flying this Aircraft as if it is a VESC. ;) 

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There has been an update on this accident. After an autopsy it was revealed that a cocktail of drugs was in the "pilot's" system...also, that he didn't die upon impact...a real bummer of a "Closure".

 

https://www.flyingmag.com/roy-halladay-autopsy-findings-catch-industry-by-surprise?src=SOC&dom=fb

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If he was in the habit of flying as shown in the video and flying while drugged to the eyeballs, it's nothing short of a miracle he managed to log 700 hours before killing himself.  I guess we should all be thankful he didn't manage to do in anyone else in the process. 

 

Maybe it's the first time he did either of those things, but I doubt it.

 

John

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If they can't prove what levels of the drugs that were in his system at the time of the accident I think they do this person an injustice by releasing that information. Our bodies have a tendency to store many small amounts of chemicals long after the meds were introduced.  

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Quote

If they can't prove what levels of the drugs that were in his system at the time of the accident I think they do this person an injustice by releasing that information.

 

Yeah, but...

 

Quote

...the Pasco and Pinellas County Coroner’s report discovered the former ball player had enough mood-altering drugs in his system to confirm he shouldn’t have been driving a car, much less flying an airplane.

 

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Well what are "mood altering drugs"?

 

I have to take 3 types of drug every day that can be classed as mood altering, but in no way would they impair my ability to drive, quite the reverse in fact.

 

As Brett says, without knowing what the drugs were we may be doing the guy an injustice, but the article list seems rather damming, there are just too many substances for it to be controlled medication. Having said that, fluoxitain is one that I am familiar with, but I think the assmption in the article is that likening it to Prozac is that the user will be zombie like, and that is totally incorect. There are some signs of class A drugs and that is another matter, as is mixing drugs together which would seem to be the case here.

 

For those outside the UK, here class A drugs are the likes of cocaine,  heroin ect. 

Edited by J G

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I'd be curious to know if he had any drunk driving convictions, or even reckless driving tickets on his record, that kind of 'drunk/reckless' flying is possibly something he may have gotten away with in fast cars before...a bad spin out is quite survivable or even recoverable from 0 feet altitude in an out of control car... not so much in an airplane. Mix a cocktail of drugs, in a Sports Car Interior, with a reckless driver?...and the result is pretty predictable.

Regrets to his family, but he made a good lesson of his example that will hopefully be taken to heart by other new converts from Sports Cars to Sports Aircraft. There is no safety net AGL in a plane.

 

Ok..as I typed that last line it occured to me to wonder if any aircraft are equipped with Airbags?

I googled and discovered that some airliners have airbags for passengers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airplane_airbags

Maybe some effort should be put into ways to utilize airbags in GA aircraft. I am concerned about how one would set/program them to work given that sudden g loads can occur due to turbulence.

Thoughts?

Edited by Captain Coffee

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I think air bags in aircraft for passengers is an interesting idea. How to make them work in a timely manner would be an interesting thing to solve. 

You should also remember that airbags in cars work within a safey "box" that is designed to protect the passengers with the airbags adding the padding.  To construct such an environment in an aircraft would cause weight and centre of balance problems. It's probably not practical at the moment.

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