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Old 08-10-2012, 04:07 AM   #1
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Small plane crash caught on video from inside cockpit

The video does content graphic material.


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A single-engine plane crash in the Idaho wilderness in late June was captured on video from inside the cockpit, and the harrowing footage has made its way to YouTube.

The plane—a 1947 Stinson 108 four-seater—took off from Bruce Meadows Airport in Stanley, Idaho, at about 2 p.m. June 30 with four passengers aboard: the owner and pilot, 70-year-old Leslie Gropp, his 38-year-old son, Tol, and two of Tol's friends—all returning from a morning hike on a clear, 80-degree day in an area known as No Return Wilderness. The four were headed to McCall, Idaho, a small mountain town where they planned to have dinner.

"I knew that the takeoff took a little longer than normal," Tol Gropp told Boise's KBOI-TV. "But the runway was so long that once we got up in the air I wasn't concerned about it."

The plane struggled to gain altitude after takeoff. According to the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary crash report, the pilot "flew straight out for about three or four minutes, but the airplane would only ascend to about 60 to 70 feet above the tops of the trees." The plane "started losing altitude and experienced a downdraft," sending it into the trees below.

The view from the cockpit shortly before the crash.

"It happened so fast that I remember hitting the trees and it sounded like rapid fire," Gropp said. "Gunfire, it sounded like, but then we were all upside down, seat-belted in, and you can hear in the video my dad asking if everyone is all right."

The entire ordeal was captured by two GoPro cameras—including one mounted inside the cockpit. The cameras were left on for several hours, Gropp said, resulting in the gripping footage, edited down to the seven-minute film below.

Leslie Gropp—a retired 31-year veteran of the Idaho Army National Guard—suffered a broken jaw and cheekbone in the crash, but is expected to make a full recovery. Tol and his two friends—copilot Nathan Williams, 41, and Alexander Arhets, also 41—were treated for minor injuries. And all four walked away.

"I honestly believe my dad saved our lives by the way he continued to fly the plane through the trees and making sure he didn't give up or try and pull out of it too hard," Tol told the network.

Two campers who witnessed the crash rushed to the scene and alerted authorities, according to the Idaho Statesman. Firefighters battling wildfires in the aarea had to cut down several trees so a helicopter could land and airlift the pilot to the hospital.

"[We] feel very lucky to be alive," Tol Gropp wrote on the video's YouTube page.

Small plane crash caught on video from inside cockpit | The Sideshow - Yahoo! News
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:31 AM   #2
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pilots an idiot for driving on these conditions..
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:25 AM   #3
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holy shit that one dude got fucked up while the other dude looked like he only got a couple scratches
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:11 AM   #4
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:02 AM   #5
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I would have been screaming profanities for sure LOL
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Old 08-11-2012, 06:56 AM   #6
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Should've rejected takeoff and or turned around when he noticed he couldn't climb.
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Old 08-11-2012, 08:05 AM   #7
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pilots an idiot for driving on these conditions..
"clear, 80-degree day" - you're right, terrible driving(??) conditions.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:56 AM   #8
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"clear, 80-degree day" - you're right, terrible driving(??) conditions.
Hot, high density altitude, overloaded and an underpowered aircraft are pretty terrible conditions.
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:22 AM   #9
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"clear, 80-degree day" - you're right, terrible driving(??) conditions.
Nothing to do with the weather conditions. That plane couldn't handle its task. Perhaps conditions were wrong choice of words, but yeah, taking off in that plane was a bad fucking idea, and the pilot should have known that.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:23 PM   #10
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Did not know we had so many Ex- RAF fighter pilots here.


That or you just read the youtube comments and became an expert on flying.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:26 PM   #11
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wow that was scary
one dude got pretty f'd up
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Old 08-11-2012, 05:07 PM   #12
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Nothing to do with the weather conditions. That plane couldn't handle its task. Perhaps conditions were wrong choice of words, but yeah, taking off in that plane was a bad fucking idea, and the pilot should have known that.
I think that was the point the article was making with that bit - noting that weather wasn't a factor. My statement was in relation to Verdasco calling this "terrible conditions" - come on, 80F degrees isn't even that hot (just under 27C).

Edit: come to think of it though, I guess "driving" IS the right word - he certainly wasn't flying anywhere.
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Old 08-12-2012, 12:16 PM   #13
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Bruce Meadows airport is at an elevation of 6,370 feet above sea level. Simple calculations that take temperature and barometric pressure into account yield a density altitude of roughly 3,000 feet higher than the field's actual elevation. The airplane was effectively taking off from a height of 9,300 feet.

Density altitude is significant for aircraft performance because thinner air means 1. less air for the engine to produce power; 2. less air for the propeller to produce thrust; and 3. less air for the wings to produce lift.
The higher your density altitude, the lower your airplane's performance. It will climb slower and accelerate slower.
Aircraft performance statistics, unless otherwise noted, are usually taken to be figures for an ideal day at sea level.

The Stinson 108-3 (very neat plane) is quoted to have a maximum rate of climb of 850 feet per minute (at sea level) and has a service ceiling of 16,500 feet. The service ceiling is defined as the density altitude at which an aircraft is unable to sustain a climb exceeding a rate of 100 feet per minute. With what we know, it seems as if the airplane reached that point well below its service ceiling.

There are lots of other factors in play here including the takeoff weight, the weight and balance configuration (center of gravity location), wind, and the airplane's mechanical state. The engine may very well have not been producing maximum power thus making the climb impossible in the given conditions.

Had I been in the pilot's seat, I'd have put the airplane right back down on the ground when I didn't get the performance I would expect to get in the conditions. Definitely at the one-minute mark in the video.

I'm no crash investigator, but I'm pretty damn confident in saying that this was poor pilot decision making. You can blame the airplane and you can blame the weather, but at the end of the day it was the pilot who continued with the flight and crashed instead of ending it when it was safe.

NTSB preliminary report, if anyone is interested. http://dms.ntsb.gov/aviation/Acciden...2012120000.pdf
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