Amateur video footage captures the last tragic moments of a lone pilot in his Piper Aerostar twin airplane just moments before striking the ground. It appears that the pilot was performing low-flying manoeuvres over the Colorado neighbourhood over which he was flying.
Apparently the pilot was from the area, which crashed in a neighbourhood just outside of Aurora, Colorado. He was flying extremely low over the area, and it is suspected he was probably buzzing his own home or that of a friends. The accident is a disturbing one for NTSB investigators, as the pilot likely knew the area and was performing dangerous, low flying manoeuvres over a populated area.
Low level flying over a populated area is illegal in many jurisdictions. For example, Canadian Air Regulations (CARS) prohibits flight below 1000′ AGL over a built up, populated area (CARS 602.14).
The Aerostar 601, built in 1975 crashed in a fireball while performing aerobatic manoeuvres next to homes on the edge of Aurora. Nobody on the ground was hurt. The pilot has not yet been identified.
In keeping with a theme of amazing approaches, check out the latest we dug up. This one is to a small airport in the remote western fjords region in Iceland, in a Fokker 50 turboprop operated by Air Iceland.
This airport, Isafjordur in Iceland, (IFJ) is not for the faint of heart. You land on a runway that is positioned on one side of a fjord, which commands a u-turn that essentially wraps up the base leg and final leg in one turn. There is no time to fly base – it’s downwind direct to final!
The airport serves the largest town in the Westfjords region of Iceland. It is only 8 feet (2 meters) above sea level and runways 08/26 are 4500′ long (1500 meters). There are definitely no right turns after departure from 08, and no left turns from 26. An expedited left turn is required right after departure from 08. Looks like an airport you wouldn’t want to go into on a day of low visibility, which probably happens often in this area considering it’s in the steep fjords right next to the ocean.
The aircraft in this video is a Fokker 50 turboprop, the model came into service in 1985 and is currently out of production. Iceland Air has six of these airplanes in service.
Coming by this sad piece of news was especially disappointing given the fact that it’s worldwide women of aviation week. Last Sunday, March 2, on a Calgary-based airline Westjet flight from Calgary, Alberta to Victoria, BC, a male passenger only identifying himself as David, left a sexist note on a napkin for the female Captain.
The note was left on the seat for Boeing 737 Captain Carey Steacy, a seasoned pilot, who has been flying for 17 years. She was outraged at the note and posted the note on her facebook page, and has sparked a lot of support with hundreds of reposts and comments. In the note, he states that a cockpit of an airplane is “no place for a woman” and that we are “short mothers, not pilots.”
Flight attendants aboard the flight also indicated that the same passenger questioned them before takeoff if she had enough flight hours to fly the plane. It’s hard to believe there are people in this country that think like that, and especially sad for us that this happened so close to home, and to an airline we know so well.
Carey handled the incident with class and wit, and her employer, Westjet airlines condemned the remarks and called the note “disappointing.”
Because so few pilots are women, people just aren’t used to hearing a female on the PA system on their flight. That can spark resentment. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to be done, and the word needs to spread that aviation is a viable career for women and men equally. Less than 5% of airline pilots are women, after all. At Westjet, there are 58 female pilots and 1111 male pilots, which is right in that range.
The captains response
Here is Carey’s response to the note, as posted on her facebook page:
“To @David in 12E on my flight #463 from Calgary to Victoria today. It was my pleasure flying you safely to your destination. Thank you for the note you discreetly left me on your seat. You made sure to ask the flight attendants before we left if I had enough hours to be the Captain so safety is important to you, too. I have heard many comments from people throughout my 17 year career as a pilot. Most of them positive. Your note is, without a doubt, the funniest. It was a joke, right? RIGHT?? I thought, not. You were more than welcome to deplane when you heard I was a “fair lady.” You have that right. Funny, we all, us humans, have the same rights in this great free country of ours. Now, back to my most important role, being a mother.”
Did you know this week, March 3 – 9 is Women of Aviation Worldwide week?
Every year, the Women in Aviation international hosts a week promoting aviation for women.
During this week, over 300,000 women are expected to participate in many of the aviation events encouraging them to consider aviation as a career, in order to improve the number of women in the industry. This global outreach worldwide week is organized by non-profit company the institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide (iWOAW), which aspires to improve gender balance in a very male-dominated air and aerospace technical industry.
So how unbalanced is it for women anyway?
While women represent half of the world’s population, in aviation the numbers are still pretty dire in terms of gender representation. For example: less than 2% of aircraft maintenance engineers are women, less than 5% of airline pilots are women, and less than 10% of aerospace engineers are women.
The annual week long event this March is an international week of awareness which celebrates women in aviation. It’s always held at the same week of the year, around March 8 because on March 8, 1910, a pilots license was issued to a female for the first time – to Raymonde de Laroche.
Females around the world are invited to visit their local flight school to learn more about flying and aviation. Many flight schools are hosting free “first flights” for women. Check your local flight school if they have any promotions.
We had a look at what events were registered for our area. Sadly, there are none in Alberta where we are located but there are events in B.C., Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec. Lots of great events in these provinces – see if there is one near you. In the U.S., there are activities in 18 states. See what’s happening in your state.
Fly it Forward
Aviators around the world are encouraged to “fly it forward” by introducing a woman or girl to the world of aviation. This could be taking them up for their first flight, for example, so that they can experience flight and know that the field is open to pursue it as a career.
The organization also presents awards to the organization, flight school, airport, pilot, instructor or other supporter who help in this endeavor. The weekly awards include:
Most female friendly airport: introduces most non pilot females to aviation during the week;
Most female friendly flight training centre: introduces the most non-pilot females to aviation during the week;
Most dedicated female pilot: woman pilot who introduces the most female non-pilots to aviation during the week; and
Most supportive male pilot: male pilot, non-instructor, who introduces the most female non-pilots to aviation during the week.
Last year, Canadian Waterloo-Wellingon Flight Centre was recognized as the most female pilot friendly training centre worldwide. This is thanks to their hard work promoting this important event. This flight school is hosting many events during the week – including a fly in on March 8. Check out their many exciting events.
There are some great challenges that are being held – one is an art contest, and there is also a first to solo challenge. The latter requires prompt action after the week and will go to the female who solos first after having discovered aviation during this week. This includes a prize of $1500! Pretty cool.
This video is obviously sped up, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. See the approach to Runway 11 at the Milford Sound airport, MFN, in New Zealand. It is in the fjords of New Zealand, called the Fiordland region, and is used mainly for flightseeing and tourist operators.
Runways 11/29 are 2565 feet long and the elevation of the airport is only 3 meters, or 10 feet above sea level. MFN is a small but very busy airport. This is not the first time a video of an approach and landing in New Zealand is featured in an amazing video – check out the amazing instrument flight into Queensland, also New Zealand. It’s equally stunning!
Bird strike – a large bird crashes through airplane windshield, and it was all covered on the pilot’s GoPro camera. This was a scary moment for Florida pilot Rob Weber, who suffered a minor cut to his forehead in this incident. The event happened in Florida.
This amazing video was recorded by the pilot with his GoPro camera. When he went out flying that day he never thought the day would end like this. This lucky pilot, Rob, would escape with his life and his airplane largely intact. Rob was on a solo flight on his way to Page Field, Florida, and he landed without incident despite having a large cut on his forehead from the glass shards of the windscreen.
It is not known what type of bird hit the plane, no ‘bird parts’ were left other than a severed foot and some feathers. Pretty cryptic! These parts will be used to identify the bird. The flight was over Fort Myers, Florida, in a Piper Saratoga and the bird hit the window at only 1000′ AGL. Did you know that generally we can expect to encounter birds up to 3000′ AGL?
Here is what his airplane looked after the collision. It will need a new windscreen, but otherwise there is not too much damage.
What do you think of this incident? Leave your comments below.
Flying out CYBW, Springbank airport which is number 6 for aircraft movements in Canada. We live near the rocky mountains of Alberta and are obsessed with mountains and aviation!
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