The mysteries of the 1973 Jim Croce plane crash. Other questionable celebrity plane crashes in American history.

guy_liking_pretty_planes

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Why did that Beechcraft airplane crash in 1973? This 57-year-old pilot Elliot, did not even have a damned copilot.

Why did the Buddy Holly plane crash in 1959?

Why did the Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash in 1977?

It seems that some of these chartered flights celebrities in music took were run by mickey-mouse owners and operators. Weather conditions were deplorable in some cases. Aircraft might have been in less than ship shape. FFA not strict enough then in regulations. Pilots in poor medical condition, maybe.
 

guy_liking_pretty_planes

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Then there is the Glenn Miller plane crash of 1944.

I don't think the exact causes for each of these aviation mishaps has been precisely determined ever. I read that Jim Croce was in a hurry to press on and that the pilot, Elliot, walked and ran a long way to the airport because no cab was available.

Living in Oklahoma, I understand how ramshackle, how half-ass, businesses can operate in parts of America with predominantly Southern accents. Red States aren't noted for having strict safety regulations and uniform standards on things either. Aviation like medicine and dentistry should be highly regulated by the government.
 
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belchfire

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There is no need for further speculation on these or many other losses where music and aviation intersect. They are well documented in a book titled Music's Broken Wings.

You would be well advised to invest in a copy...

Glen Miller disappeared during a World War in a Single Engine Norseman, and while a commendable aircraft for it's ruggedness and performance as a utility plane, there was a war on, there was but one engine and the English Channel is home to some of the least favorable weather in the world. Not much of a mystery at all...

Your blanket condemnation of Southern businesses and Conservative government speaks loudly and clearly of a big government sycophant who believes that people need micromanaging by a bunch Soviet-minded and Stazi mother-fornicators in the District of Crime.

Further, your assertion that Aviation is not highly regulated reeks of utter inexperience and a mind that has been spoon fed by bubble-headed bleach blond talking heads who in fact know less than nothing about what they blither about on the 24/7/365 cable socialist indoctrination networks!

When you get your information from sources that are ignorant and/or willfully biased, ignorance and bias will be the result. I should feel pity rather than being irritated by your outpouring of myth and misinformation. Still, when NTSB agent Bartholomew Simpson provides you with the names of crew members involved in an incident the results are predictable...

 
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guy_liking_pretty_planes

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Well, historically, aircraft operation wasn't as tightly controlled maybe as it is now. If you are a pilot or commercial air operator, you must be held accountable to follow the law. Human error is the biggest culprit in airplane mishaps. I'm very wary of private chartered flights. It's inconceivable to me that a charted plane for hire would not supply both a copilot and a pilot or captain. Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens were even on mickey-mouse buses back in 1959 on the way to the fateful flight. No working heaters and perhaps other non-compliance nonsense. Transportation companies have compromised passenger safety and comfort in the name of cheaping out.
 

guy_liking_pretty_planes

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There is no need for further speculation on these or many other losses where music and aviation intersect. They are well documented in a book titled Music's Broken Wings.

You would be well advised to invest in a copy...

Your blanket condemnation of Southern businesses and Conservative government speaks loudly and clearly of a big government sycophant who believes that people need micromanaging by a bunch Soviet-minded and Stazi mother-fornicators in the District of Crime.

Further, your assertion that Aviation is not highly regulated reeks of utter inexperience and a mind that has been spoon fed by bubble-headed bleach blond talking heads who in fact know less than nothing about they blither about on the 24/7/365 cable socialist indoctrination networks!

When you get your information from sources that are ignorant and/or willfully biased, ignorance and bias will be the result. I should feel pity rather than being irritated by your outpouring of myth and misinformation. Still, when NTSB agent Bartholomew Simpson provides you with the names of crew members involved in an incident the results are predictable...


I always thought Asians were bad automobile drivers but in airplanes, good lord! Even Japanese Zero pilots were suicidal.
 

belchfire

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There have been changes to regulations that may have prevented a spacial disorientation incident such as Buddy Holly was on-part 135 would require a single engine turbine or multi-engined piston aircraft allowing single pilot IFR operations with an autopilot. Instrumentation is better now but if the pilot was not prepared to enter the clouds a night time startle would have been bad. The incident aircraft, while perhaps meeting the IFR requirements of the day, was far from what is considered adequate at this time.

The incident aircraft was an early Beechcraft Bonanza, a single engine airplane with a 185 HP engine, 39 gallon fuel capacity and four seats. As for a "copilot", many Beechcraft of the day had a "throw-over" yoke meaning there were not full, dual controls installed! And yes, there were many IFR flights conducted in airplanes just like it that had safe outcomes...

The point is that there really is no mystery in most of these crashes.

There isn't really that much mystery in the disappearance of Flight 19 if you had ever talked to a guy who flew SAR missions during WWII!
 

belchfire

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Aircraft rudder pedal controls may have been faulty.
Gimme a break-even most of the V-tail Bonanza inflight breakups were improper continuation of VFR operation in IFR Conditions.

Anyone who has gone from a VFR pilot to an Instrument Rated pilot will understand. The public, the non-initiated and the arrogant fools who haven't passed an Instrument Checkride may disambiguate and offer all kinds of ignorant bovine excrement.

This accident, like so many before it, was caused by the pilot’s decision to undertake a flight in which the likelihood of encountering instrument conditions existed, in the mistaken belief that he could cope with en route instrument weather conditions, without having the necessary familiarization with the instruments in the aircraft and without being properly certificated to fly solely by instruments.

I'm telling you right now that without the proper instrumentation and the skills to fly by that instrumentation as a pilot that earned a not just an Instrument Rating but a Type Rating with steam gauges somewhat more advanced but ultimately not that different from that which were in the old Bonanza you'd be absolutely fracked flying into a dark and cloudy sky with the likely bonus of icing conditions, on that night.

Dead Right There, it's not an abstract gamble, it is the predictable result. Jimmy Doolittle and Charles Lindbergh aren't around any more but even they would tell you the same thing!

Continuing VFR into IFR condition remains a leading cause of General Aviation accidents to this day...
 
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guy_liking_pretty_planes

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I don't understand all that jazz above. I've never found any explanations for any these airplane mishaps that any laymen can understand. I'm not a pilot or a professional airplane expert. Was there any mechanical fault with the aircraft? Was there pilot error? ATC error? Other human error? Why did the Skynyrd plane run out of fuel? In the case of the Skynyrd incident, Aerosmith examined the aircraft for a possible charter flight before Skynyrd got booked. Aerosmith was not impressed according to one account I've read. Steven Tyler inspected the plane beforehand. It seemed that the airplane and the company operating it both were shoddy in appearance. Ronnie Van Zant wanted to fly on that clunker anyway and took a number of his staffers to their deaths with him. It seems that in a number of music celebrity airplane deaths, the musicians were in a hurry and wanted to press on fast. Croce was in a hurry to get home to his family after taking a beating on the road. Holly was sick and tired of that damn bus that had mechanical issues including no heat in the cold weather. He obviously did not want to spend money on a nice limousine for road travel or could not afford it even given the newfound success of his late 1950's records. It seems as that some musicians once were either cheap about spending money on good modern transportation or were too poor to travel commercial airlines or have a fancy private jet. Some richer celebrities own modern private planes and hire credible private pilots. There are very good prop airplanes too like the Beechcraft King Air 350 with twin turbo power. Many piston aircraft were death traps. Many of these music celebrity types were just not safety conscious back in the day. Steve Tyler is indeed safety conscious for a rocker.
 
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belchfire

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Okay, have you ever had vertigo or other experience (even sea sickness) where what your inner ear equilibrium did not agree with what your eyes are telling you?

Here's a link that explains Spacial Disorientation far better than I can and it is certainly the cause of the Buddy Holley accident. Instrument Flight Rule conditions prevailed that night and while the Bonanza was most certainly not a deathtrap when operated properly, taking off into the clouds without an Instrument Rating will turn any aircraft into a coffin!


Lots of people have died from continuing Visually into Instrument conditions. One of the last "famous" people to do just that was the Kennedy who killed himself and one or two others crashing off of Martha's Vineyard...not that he couldn't have found someone qualified to operate the airplane for him or couldn't afford a charter mind you.

Most recently it was Kobe Bryant et. al. when their pilot-in a modern, twin turboshaft powered and fully instrument capable helicopter mind you-continued VFR into Instrument conditions and the Earth rose and smote them for the transgression.

2020 Calabasas helicopter crash - Wikipedia

Something you do not seem to understand is summed up neatly by an old quote-frequently seen on a picture of some kind of WWI biplane stuck in a giant oak tree...

"Aviation in and of itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater extent than the Sea it is terribly unforgiving of any Carelessness, Incapacity or Neglect."

Ah, here it is!

 
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guy_liking_pretty_planes

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Okay, have you ever had vertigo or other experience (even sea sickness) where what your inner ear equilibrium did not agree with what your eyes are telling you?

Here's a link that explains Spacial Disorientation far better than I can and it is certainly the cause of the Buddy Holley accident. Instrument Flight Rule conditions prevailed that night and while the Bonanza was most certainly not a deathtrap when operated properly, taking off into the clouds without an Instrument Rating will turn any aircraft into a coffin!


Lots of people have died from continuing Visually into Instrument conditions. One of the last "famous" people to do just that was the Kennedy who killed himself and one or two others crashing off of Martha's Vineyard...not that he couldn't have found someone qualified to operate the airplane for him or couldn't afford a charter mind you.

Most recently it was Kobe Bryant et. al. when their pilot-in a modern, twin turboshaft powered and fully instrument capable helicopter mind you-continued VFR into Instrument conditions and the Earth rose and smote them for the transgression.

2020 Calabasas helicopter crash - Wikipedia

Something you do not seem to understand is summed up neatly by an old quote-frequently seen on a picture of some kind of WWI biplane stuck in a giant oak tree...

"Aviation in and of itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater extent than the Sea it is terribly unforgiving of any Carelessness, Incapacity or Neglect."

Ah, here it is!

Sounds like the pilot was unqualified to fly the Holley flight under those weather conditions in 1959. Did he not have a working pitch and roll gauge on his dash? Earth down, blue sky up? Altimeter? Compass? Charles Lindbergh successfully crossed the Atlantic with only an altimeter and a compass for navigation. How's that for old-fashioned IFR?
 

belchfire

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I am not sure what the requirements for flight by reference to instruments only were in 1959, however an altimeter and compass are not the minimum to keep the Earth from rising and smiting thee...

Yes, the compass is required and yes, you need a sensitive (able to read 20 foot increments as defined by the FAA) altimeter, one requires at a minimum a gyroscopic turn coordinator and as a luxury item a gyro compass. A gyroscopic artificial horizon (pitch and roll gauge you referred to?) was not originally a requirement but I'm not sure about 1959.

I do know from the "partial panel" practice that I did during my initial training (before multi-functional displays and Garmin GPS Whatever Number they are up to now) that after losing an artificial horizon it is possible to keep an airplane right side up with a whisky compass, altimeter and turn coordinator but you absolutely need that one gyroscopic instrument (turn coordinator) to survive.

In the instrument qualified aircraft of the day while other gyroscopic indicators were usually powered by vacuum sources, typically the last-ditch, absolutely must have turn coordinator was powered electrically. Lose the electrical, well, you still should have and artificial horizon and gyro compass. Lose the electrical system and you lose the turn coordinator.

Redundancy is key to life and it is what ultimately brought (as bad as it was) the crew of Apollo 13 back home to a safe splashdown...

Thus, even an aircraft that you described earlier as a death trap had redundancy established. Were the expectations the same in 1959 as they are now? Oh hell no! Those poor people couldn't have even imagined a flip phone let alone the latest Samsung or I-phone!

Yes, the pilot was not qualified to handle the flight in question regardless of how the aircraft was equiped. It was a sad but predictable outcome...

As far as I know the only gyro on the Spirit of St. Louis was the turn coordinator. For a primary compass the Spirit was equipped with an Earth Inductor compass and I believe no gyro compass was installed...

scroll through the pictures of the Spirit of St. Louis in Washington, DC-


Charles Lindbergh was a frelling genius...
 
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