Wow! Pilot survives 2 crashes in 1 day


Well-known member
Nov 27, 2001
Total Time

Pilot Survives Two Crashes In One Day

Pilot Justin R. Kirkbride has an amazing story to tell -- one he likely hopes never to repeat. The 31-year-old was piloting a Cessna 172 over inhospitable terrain near Durango, Colo., on a sightseeing flight last Wednesday when he said he started having some aircraft control problems. The problems were apparently severe enough to convince him he should take the plane in for a controlled crash on a mountain at about 9,600 feet. With no suitable landing space, Kirkbride opted to stall the plane over a grove of spruce trees. It was a good plan. The trees broke the plane's fall, sparing the three aboard. Kirkbride and one passenger were unhurt. A second passenger suffered a fractured ankle and lower leg. With temperatures in the 20s and night approaching, Kirkbride left the crash site and walked six hours, through the snow, to a place where his cellphone would transmit and called for help. He was retrieved by a search-and-rescue helicopter dispatched from Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M., and assisted in finding the downed Cessna. Ironically, the MH-53J Pave Low helicopter also crash-landed after its main rotor struck a tree as it was either landing at or departing the Cessna's crash site. Though the 70-foot drop was a hard one, no one on board was hurt. Two-fer Kirkbride and the others were finally evacuated from the twin crash site on Thursday.

I.P. Freley

I like people food
Dec 26, 2001
Total Time

Well the good news, besides everyone surviving both crashes, is that he's unlikely to ever have ANOTHER crash... Imagine the odds!!

And if he doesn't want to fly anymore after this, can I have his job?? :D


I'm a dippidy doer
Nov 28, 2001
Total Time
a bit
So, here's what I can't figure out...

The pilot of the 172 said he started having "control problems" at 9600 feet. So, exactly does one have those in a 172. It's not like they haven't been in production since 1956 or anything.

Couple not-so-bright seeming pilots that day if you ask me. I'm a local, and I've flown 172s with three people up into the basin no problem--just takes a little patience.

But I did hike in to the crash site on Sunday after Church. Pretty amazing sight. And a 12 mile hike through some painful snow. They're lucky there hadn't been any snow up there for the past three weeks--if it snows in SW CO, avalanche city. Wish I would have brought the digital camera with me.

I know a guy who was on the Durango rescue team that went in to the site originally, and he thought it was hilarious that there was a manual open to the "landing without power" section. He wasn't real impressed with the Stallion pilots either--course, I've had nothing but great experiences with the Stallions out of Kirtland--go figure.

Not that I'm the NTSB or anything, so we'll have to see what they say about the thing.