Would Foreflight have prevented this plane crash?

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On 11/26/11 a Cirrus SR20 flew from Indiana to Illinois. The VFR pilot encountered IMC at his destination, Dupage Airport, where he was dropping off his daug…


FlyingThereAndBack says:

The absolute luxury of flying private operations over commercial is having your own final say on whether or not you fly that day, depending on the condition of your equipment, how you feel, and weather. It is great when we can just say ‘You know what…..today is not right, let’s leave until next time’. Take advantage of it.

hodaddy3 says:

Good point, that was a very fine aircraft, an SR-22! It was up to the task as long as the PIC could handle it. Too bad he left a bad impression of his flying abilities on his passengers families.

hodaddy3 says:

Right on! It takes HARD CORE TRAINING to be a great instrument pilot. Do it alone in bad weather, you never forget it. You never stop learning. Just pray you make it to retirement in a flying job.

hodaddy3 says:

Yes, I do. Could be over the counter drugs for a stuffy nose then throw in some altitude, add in age (over 50) a poor diet, no exercise, bad vision ie faked the eye test.

hodaddy3 says:

What about the other three people he put in that situation? He was wrong for trying to fly VFR, with passengers, with out a valid Instrument Rating. No others are to Blame!

kevp951 says:

I agree. If the pilot had a little smaller ego on the first (overshot) DuPage approach he also could have quizzed DuPage tower on the surrounding weather and then told them I’m on Bingo fuel and i’m declaring an emergency, just tell me what runway you want me to land on. He owned a car dealership, so i’m sure he was capable of dealing with the FAA over something minor like that. And he’d be alive most importantly.

kevp951 says:

I agree. If the pilot had a little smaller ego on the first (overshot) Dupage approach he also could have quizzed Dupage tower on the surrounding weather and then told them I’m on Bingo fuel and i’m declaring an emergency, just tell me what runway you want me to land on. He owned a car dealership, so i’m sure he was capable of dealing with the FAA over something minor like that. And he’d be alive most importantly.

kevp951 says:

I studied this on the AOPA accident reviews….

Cuban Pete says:

There is a video titled “178 Seconds to live”.
According to the NTSB that is the average lifespan of a VFR only pilot who enters IMC.

Curt AR says:

I was lucky to have a friend that flew a bank note shuttle every night into SFO. We went IMC into foot on the dash to keep me in my seat rough weather at night and he said “you got it”. If he was not there i would have crashed in under 2 minutes! He taught me the scan and I was able to keep it in the air. I learned that I NEVER wanted to be that situation again and how hard it was to deal with it. But those few first minutes were worth a bunch to me. I will never forget it.

happierinverted says:

You’re right that statistically low timers are at a higher risk but 10% is a serious statistic for the initiated too. We all hate reading these stories again and again and I guess my point should have been that CFIT happens too often. The ‘typical low time jackass private pilot’ comment got me a little upset too – statistically most private pilots make the right go/no go decisions every time they go to the airport. I’ll close with a thought for the pilot, his passengers and their families – RIP.

marcelodtise says:

I use Foreflight as a tool for preflight, added situational awareness and IAP….that’s it.
I have the stratus ADS-B but in flight its really useless. I cant tell you how many times its been wrong.
I feel sad for the soles on board. The SR 22 has instruments on board and should have used the most important ….AP will have at least kept him straight and level while vectoring out of the shit.
Get on the ground and start you IR NOW!!

427SuperSnake1 says:

Well if you look at the NTSB statistics. it shows that 90 out of 100 flight into imc resulting in a fatal accident are carried out by private pilots with zero instrument training.. Most high time pilots hold an instrument rating! Does it happen to instrument high time pilots to, yes. But hardly with the same frequency, not even close. this guy had tickets to a football game!!! He had two seconds of flight time.. He was an idiot!!! Hope the football game was fun. Oh wait he didn’t make it.

Alexander Filatov says:

Is this a failed attempt to say Foreflight is the best? Yep! Another wannabe pilot who thinks he can handle a situation based on some software app. I’m sure mike will get in over his head someday.

stealhty1 says:

With all the equipment in his aircraft,I can’t see how Foreflight could save”em more or less,100% pilot Error ,pushing the situation deeper ,however ATC play a roll not providing Vectors to VFR conditions,which Im sure this pilot will refuse it anyway

MikeSandmanTelecom says:

Pilots fear the “FAA.” The FAA created that. Too late to change.

Lockheed’s briefers are rough. I don’t know what the FA says reading it, OR having it read word for word to me by a briefer. I only call them for TFRs these days.

If I knew geography AND could remember 60 year old abbreviations (from the teletype days), I’d be a briefer.

I don’t/can’t/ain’t. But I still fly safely with Foreflight and Weathermeister.

The difference is that I check weather/notams/TFRs before I fly. He didn’t.

happierinverted says:

Right… those guys with 5,000 hours and the professional airline drivers never ignore instruments, take a chance busting minimums or get too hung up navigating or communicating and forget to aviate.

Bad habits creep up on higher time pilots too and the accident spikes happen throughout a flying lifetime. Thinking that it’s just a low hours private pilot problem is another part of the ‘whats that sheep doing up here?’ problem!

Mike Bennett says:

Can’t help but think that this thought was going through his mind: “What happens if the FAA realizes that I am in the shit?”

NEVER worry about what “can happen” to you on the ground. Fly the airplane, deal with the paperwork later.

Once had to take the controls over on an instrument approach that went real bad at Night in the shit. I landed on an intersecting runway. I didn’t ASK the tower, I TOLD the tower I WAS landing on that runway. They were happy I did… Glad to be here. :-)

Mike Bennett says:

Up until the last transmission he was relatively calm and sounded confident in his abilities. His core issue may be been one of the hazardous attitudes. He may have thought all along, “I can handle this” “I don’t want to look bad in front of my passengers, I can’t ask for “help”. It takes allot more then “skills” to be a good pilot -or to put it a better way, “a good captan”-. We have all made that call, family waiting for you, looking forward to a trip when you have to pull the plug.

Mike Bennett says:

In this recording we are not witnessing an issue with available information. We are witnessing what happens when a pilot is in over his / her head and doesn’t know what tools are available. They fail to step back and reassess the situation. Calm down, fess up, and take corrective action. Anyone pick up on how afraid this guy was to deal with approach? In the end, he couldn’t handle the additional workload and most likely lost it when setting up the next frequency. Sad..

Mike Bennett says:

You know, there is a telephone number you can call. There are men and woman who are there for YOU the pilot to give you weather information, NOTAMs, TFR data etc. I hear it’s been around for some time (sarcasm intended) 800WXBRIEF :-/ I love ForFlight and did one of the early videos on the product, but it is not the be all and end all of aviation knowledge. The pilot must actually look at it. On a side note, METARs and FAs are not confusing to read once you know the coding (TAFs are the same).

kell490 says:

Seems to me many are reluctant to pull those chutes until it’s too late because they know the aircraft will be a total loss they think they can recover from the situation.

kell490 says:

Do you think some people are more susceptible to Spatial disorientation who get vertigo or have motion sickness play a part?

Lehmann Peters says:

Spatial disorientation is a bitch baby! Your body’s telling you one thing and the instruments are telling you something else…and you go with your body, then your instruments, then your body and then you usually spiral in.

427SuperSnake1 says:

Typical Low Time Private Pilot Jackass Flying into IMC.. Perfect Recipe For A Fatal Accident.. This Has Been Proved A Million Different Times Over And Over..

MikeSandmanTelecom says:

I didn’t mean using Foreflight to get OUT of the trouble he was in. I meant using it for planning so that he would have never taken off, or to get him to an alternate.

Most humans using Foreflight for planning on that particular trip would have been scared and not taken off.

Would using Foreflight prevent someone taking off so they never get into trouble?

Checking the weather on Foreflight is a whole lot easier than dealing with a briefer. A briefer yesterday simply read me the FA. Useless.

fiveoboy01 says:

He had over 150 hours in that particular airplane. It wasn’t a lack of aeronautical knowledge, it was a VFR pilot heading in to IMC. It’s a leading cause of GA death. As to the person posting the video, can’t really pin the blame on FAA for this one. The pilot made a long chain of bad decisions.

Ford Davis says:

Didn’t he get disoriented and spin in? All his equipment was working, looking down at an iPad (or iPhone?!?) in IMC would’ve made the situation go bad more quickly. VFR into IMC is the leading cause of death for private pilots and kills unprepared instrument pilots too, it is not “no big deal”. Hindsight is 20/20 though, it’s a sad and terrible accident; hopefully we can learn from it and not repeat his mistakes.

MikeSandmanTelecom says:

I asked American Flyers about it and they said he only went there to prepare for a written.

I took an Instrument Written course there. The all classroom course was just to pass the Instrument Written, which is a test that requires you know totally useless information (in my opinion).

Mav1843 says:

LOL the biggest issue is that he received his training from American Flyers.  What a joke.


Leave the ipad on the side for the monent and focus on this. VFR pilot into the clouds is an emergency! He should declare an emergency to the approach control and get vectors and radar assistance to avoid what happened. Pilots should hot hesitate to declare an emergency when needed. He should be given immidiate priority and helped. But he never declared an emergency. Also the tower should declare an emergency for him from the moment that he admited he was in and out of the clouds not IR pilot

MikeSandmanTelecom says:

Training by an instructor is part 1 of getting a pilot’s license.

Even if the instructor was totally inept (I haven’t heard about other people in Indiana making similar mistakes), he had to take a ride with the FAA or a DE to get his ticket.

It’s unlikely that both the instructor and the examiner could be so inept that they missed poor decision making, so it was obviously a feeling of invincibility on his part after he got the ticket.

I guess it’s as easy to ignore a briefing as get to one.

MikeSandmanTelecom says:

They don’t think he pulled the chute, and at his altitude it wouldn’t have done much (he was pretty low).

I think everybody wants to understand how this pilot got to where he was. He sure made some really bizarre decisions that most of us wouldn’t make alone, much less with precious cargo in the plane.

A local DE (FAA Designated Examiner) suggested that he got into that situation because he made those decisions before and they worked. Until they don’t.

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