Stupid Pilot Tricks #1 – With friends like these…

You can’t make this stuff up, really. This is a the first in a new series I’m calling ”Stupid Pilot Tricks” that will be based on recent NTSB accident and incident reports.

SPT#1: With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Nevada-based pilot and flight instructor Earl Griffin, 70, thought he’d say “hellow” to his buddy Dave, who was driving a white 2008 Ford Explorer on a dirt road in Crystal, Nevada in January of 2010.

Problem was, Earl was flying a Piper Cherokee 235 (N9083W) at the time. 

You can guess by the name of this new feature that the results weren’t good. Luckily no one was killed.

In Earl’s own words in the accident report. My comments in [...]:

“I departed BTY [Beatty Airport in Nevada] about 12:50am [he meant pm] to Crystal. I was decending [he's the bad speller, not me] to land and saw Daves car on the dirt road.”

“I decided to say hellow.”

Earl cranked the 235 around in a 180-deg “decinding” turn and rolled out “going toward him”, he writes.

“It looked like I as going to be to low. I started recovery from the descent, the closure rate was fast.”

“I hit his car with my left main landing gear”. [Ouch]

dumber_30 jan  Crystal NV  Piper 235_blog.JPG

The damage had been done to poor Dave [he was listed as a serious injury in the NTSB report], but Earl wasn’t done.

“I climbed about 200ft and was turning right to check on Dave. The airplane started to stall, the engine was running but no power [karma?]… I turned back left and landed on the dirt road.”


30 Jan 2010 Nevada_plane.JPG

 Left main landing gear no longer aboard….


Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.