Wise Words - Lessons from trike fatalities

Published by: Cherian Jubilee on 5th Dec 2011 | View all blogs by Cherian Jubilee
I found and read this on Free To Adventure site written by one David Zuniga. I think its important enough for all flex micro pilots to read.
Original article can be found at
http://www.freetoadventure.com/profiles/blogs/time-for-hard-words

Between April 21, 2010 and May 17, 2011 there were three similar trike crashes in Hawaii, each resulting in two fatalities. Six deaths in 13 months, all over water.  The last four deaths should have been avoided, and might have been, if the flying community had done its job, as I'll explain.

An old aphorism holds that there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.  The aphorism comes from generations of tragic lessons.  If these three lessons don’t teach trike pilots not to conduct overwater flights with passengers, then I recommend we grant the Darwin Award to the next pilot who kills himself in an overwater crash.

People have commented elsewhere on freetoadventure.com that Steve Sprague was a great pilot and all of the usual condolences after a fatal accident.  The deceased pilot was a great guy, the very best…don’t know how it happened…blah, blah.  I submit that these commenters either didn’t know Steve Sprague very well or are trying to be polite.  Of course it’s heartbreaking that Steve killed himself and his passenger; what’s needed now to hopefully prevent more such avoidable ‘accidents’ is blunt honesty.  If my friend Steve was still here, I’d kick his ass.  But because he refused to take the obvious lesson from the irresponsible flying of Tedd Hecklin and Jim Gaither before him, Steve was the most irresponsible – I’d say criminally negligent – of the three.

It’s critical to the future of our sport and to the lives of future trusting passengers that pilots exercise sound judgment.  So I'll disagree with these glowing assessments of Steve’s piloting with actual data from my personal experience with him, and then I’ll offer up a few other hard cautionary tales of tragedy. 

Young pilots need to hear from old pilots like me because, as with some other sports, flying can be totally unforgiving.  As you read this story, think of the pilot or pilots that you know, whose flying style throws up red flags for.  I think all of us have a duty to confront such pilots before they kill a passenger. 

I distinguish between solo flying (Part 103 or otherwise) and carrying trusting passengers.  In a free country, I say that what a man does with his own life is between him, God, and his life insurance company; but when you involve a passenger – especially when you do so for hire, advertising the relative safety of our sport and yet operating in a foolhardy manner, every responsible pilot you know should call you out for it. 

If more of us confronted the ‘bold’ pilots in our lives that way, it might help the Darwin Award winners from destroying our sport, raising our life insurance rates, and destroying the families of those who are the passenger on their final joy ride.

My triking instructors were Paul Hamilton and Samantha Moore in Carson City; professional operators and meticulous about their aircraft and operations.  But when I returned to Texas, Steve was the only trike instructor in our area so after my initial training I took about an hour of dual time with him, and I saw red flag #1.

At Steve’s home airport as we assembled the wing on his training aircraft, the old Aquilla looked as though it had been sitting for a decade in the sun and had endured many hard landings.  The airframe was so un-airworthy in fabric, fittings, tubes, and gear that as we were taxiing to takeoff, I knew better than to go aloft.  The old Aquilla was not the trike that Steve and his passenger died in; my point is that Steve was definitely not a conservative pilot.  Any pilot who knew him should have known that, but his vacationing passengers had no idea; that’s the worse tragedy.  Perhaps because Steve’s father had been with FAA for years, he felt he was genetically immune to the consequences of irresponsible actions? 

Red flag #2 came when I noticed that Steve’s training area was under the floor of the Randolph Air Force training base MOA.  Low-time jet jockeys blast along at closing speeds that will blow you away like a bug before you can spot their approach.  I was fairly new in trikes but had been a fixed-wing pilot for 30 years and I never felt uneasy about flying with Paul Hamilton or Samantha Moore.  After that day, I never flew with Steve again. 

Red flag #3 for me with Steve Sprague came when I learned that he was also operating a ‘balloon adventures’ business and had been accused by many past clients of ethical lapses.  I did a search for his name and ‘balloon adventures’ on Google and found the San Antonio BBB site.  I discovered that he had an accident that was nearly fatal to one of his balloon passengers.  Rather than reconsidering his activities in that sport, his posts all denied any wrongdoing or judgment lapses.  He continued operating as before, with more complaints about his ethics.  Business ethics is not directly related to airmanship but it indicates judgment; when you read “pilot error” in an NTSB report, judgment is 90% determinative. 

Red flag #4 with Steve Sprague was after I had finished assembling a new DTA Voyager – an expensive SUV-style airframe, the most robust in the industry.  Since there was no one else in the San Antonio area, we hired Steve to be our test pilot.  He started to taxi out for the initial test flight…with his safety harness dangling along behind him.  We waved him down to signal him to buckle up.  In an enclosed aircraft, it’s a basic checklist item, but in an open DTA Voyager your harness is a life-safety item.

Then came red flag #5, when Steve posted videos of himself committing clear FAR violations, flying a trike at night over terrain where no possibility of emergency landing existed.  I emailed him about it; he didn’t acknowledge the email or respond. 

Red flag #6 came for me after Steve moved to Kauai for a clean start, far from his past ballooning accident and reputation.  No one knew him in Hawaii.  Those who signed up to fly with him had no idea what kind of judgment this pilot had; they would log onto his site and read glowing testimonials from past joy-riders visiting Hawaii and being treated to breath-taking flights over forbidding mountains, waterfalls, and 10,000 foot deep ocean!  When I saw Steve’s new website videos, I emailed him, strongly advising him not to operate overwater with passengers.  No response, no acknowledgment. 

Red flag #7 was when I noticed that Steve advertised his Kauai sightseeing tours as ‘introductory flight training’, to avoid the stricter FAA regulations for tour operators.  As with most balloon and helicopter joyride operations, customers assume that the operator is proficient and of sound judgment.  When passengers sign a liability waiver, they sign away their life – or at least make it nearly impossible for the family of the dead passenger to sue the operation for the pilot doing something that any responsible commercial operator should never do. 

Federal Aviation Regulations Part 103 makes triking and flying powered paragliders a self-regulating community; we fly under our own recognizance under Part 103 because the pilot can only kill himself.  Yet an LSA pilot can, by bending the rules as Steve did, operate for hire and seemingly follow the letter of the FARs with respect to equipment and certificates, yet still operate as a ‘bold’ pilot, making all our lives harder when he dies.  Witnesses said that they saw the trike “doing steep turns no more than 60 feet from rock cliffs”, and that looks just like what you see on his website videos.  Darwin Award stuff.

This article is designed to be such self-regulation; a cautionary tale to all my fellow pilots who may call me dirty names for saying hard, true things…but just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do it.  THINK before you fly.

Steve Sprague was trained and knowledgeable; he knew perfectly well that overwater flight even with a BRS, poses fatal risk for pilot and passenger in case of in-flight failure.  Not only structural (as may have been the case here) but even in an engine-out failure.  Jim Gaither, the ‘instructor’ (tour operator) that Steve replaced on Kauai had killed himself and a passenger in the ocean just 90 days before Steve’s fatal crash.  Why did Steve refuse to heed the fatal lesson given to him by Jim’s crash in the ocean off Kauai that killed passenger Kim Buergel?  Why did Steve refuse to learn from the double fatality (Ted Hecklin of Ted’s Flying Adventures and passenger Grace Moran) one year prior, on the big island? 

The lesson is: no overwater flight in a trike without floats.  Three pilots took the lives of others as well as their own.  As the third on in Hawaii in 13 months, Steve not only knew better; he had been warned about that specific danger and did it anyway because he was criminally negligent and misrepresenting to the public what kind of operation he was running so that he wouldn’t have to face FAA scrutiny of his operation.  Just because he could.  Similarly, the flights he was doing over forbidding granite mountains with no possible emergency landing spots, pose just as grave a life-safety threat: zero error margin for pilot, airframe, or powerplant.  Steve knew this, but didn’t give a damn because Steve was a bold pilot.  Steve was immune.

Ask yourself…is this your attitude when you fly?  If it is, then for you, carrying passengers is criminally negligent.  I don’t know what Ray Foreman’s widow (who took a “training flight” with Steve to celebrate his 25th anniversary) or his 10-year-old son think about it, but Steve’s persistent bullheadedness and daredevil flying cost them their husband and father.  

So yes, I’d kick his ass today if I could.  But I’m not singling Steve out here; I mentioned Tedd and Jim, the other two Darwin Award winning pilots in Hawaii.  I’ll offer a few more, too. 

Over 20 years ago when I flew ultralights, a friend named Bobby in south Texas used to be a daredevil, flying aerobatics in unrated ultralights; even landing atop a moving semi-trailer just to prove that he could!  Watching Bobby fly was always an edge-of-your-seat proposition; he was incredibly skillful, but Darwin’s Law catches up.  We all should have given Bobby a hard kick in the ass and a good chewing out…but none of us ever did.  We in the ultralight community screwed up because today, my friend Bobby is a quadriplegic.  Not from a flying accident; the stunt that finally did him in was a long wheelie at high speed on a superbike in traffic. 

When you hear a spirit of immunity and invincibility in a pilot, who speaks highly of his qualifications yet exhibits bad judgment – call him out on it.  Then tell someone else.  If they’re married, tell his wife to watch him carefully, and if you have mutual friends who fly, have them tag him too.  If he offers rides to passengers, for free or for hire, tell your FAA FSDO if you think the pilot is dangerous enough. 

Considering themselves immune to the aviation community’s collective wisdom, these pilots give all of sport aviation an undeserved reputation with the public and with life insurance underwriters.  These pilots go up when they shouldn’t…they fly in places that they shouldn’t – where there’s no chance of making an emergency landing…they fly in such a manner as to always appear very courageous – or at least like a lot of fun, to people who have no idea of the life safety issues.  These pilots invite a tragedy.  Then they brag about it; they publish photos and videos. 

Is it right for the rest of us to remain mute?  Should we offer them posthumous kudos for being “a great pilot and a great guy”, when the public is depending on our collective judgment to self-regulate our sport?  If we remain quiet about these fools, who deserves the Darwin Award more – them?  Or us, for keeping quiet about what we know very well is stupid, dangerous flying?  

Your aircraft’s airworthiness is as critical to your life as your airmanship, weather decisions, or decision to fly over impossible terrain or water.  My friend Roger Nathanson was president of the Kerrville, Texas EAA chapter not far from my home.  I’m a Christian and Roger was atheist, but we still got along wonderfully.  I considered him a meticulous pilot and mechanic, and as a person he was just a prince of a guy.  Unlike Steve and Bobby, my friend Roger was no daredevil.  But believing you’re immune to airworthiness issues can kill you just as dead.  

In March 2009, Roger bought a used Northwing trike from Oklahoma and had it trailered to Kerrville.  When it arrived, we inspected it at my airport.  Being a structural engineer, I pointed out that both wing spar tubes had undergone severe localized flexural stress at the same point.  Inadequate support and attendant abrasion and cyclical impact loading on the long trailer ride evidenced incipient stress fracture at both locations after 800 miles of bouncy trailering.  I made Roger promise me that he’d replace those spar tubes.  I should have followed the rule I mentioned earlier; should have told his wife not to let him fly until he replaced those spars.  I just assumed Roger would follow through. He promised but didn’t do it.  A successful business owner, it was no question of money; Roger just didn’t install new wing spars because even though an engineer had shown him the incipient failure points in his wings…Roger felt immune.   

On May 24, 2009 the news reported that Roger and his passenger, Dr. Jim Stokes of Kerrville on a ‘training ride’, had died.  The trike had no BRS; witnesses said they saw one wing ‘flapping’ as the trike spun in from altitude.  
That totally avoidable double fatality was worse than ‘pilot error’; beyond a reasonable doubt it was criminal negligence.  Two stress-fractured wings spars were not replaced; the wreckage photos confirmed it, as I reported to the local FSDO.  Damn it, why do some pilots feel immune when they intend to carry innocent passengers!?

My responsibility to my fellow aviators (on this site and in general) is to ask you as you watch such videos right here on this site…is this a good thing for the future of personal liberty and of our sport?  Anybody that knows me is aware that I have always complained about the draconian, tyrannical way that the FAA conducts itself.  It just infuriates me that a government agency is so damned hard on us when all we want is the freedom to fly.  Those who know me, are well aware of my position about the Nanny State, and liberty of the skies.

As I said at the outset of this long tirade, I make a distinction for pilots flying Part 103 or flying solo, as with PPGs.  Each man’s life is his own and we’re all going to die sooner or later; what you do with your life is between you, God, and your life insurance company.  Some people consider the risk worth the excitement.  That’s fine.

But manslaughter is different.  When you carry a passenger – especially passengers for hire – and you fly recklessly, that’s ALL our concern.  It’s definitive criminal negligence, and that kind of ‘pilot error’ should bring serious legal liability for the pain and torment and life difficulties it brings to those left behind. At the very least, your dangerous practices should bring public scorn from those of us who know you.  We owe it to you and our sport to call out your real irresponsibility rather than paper over your funeral (and that of your victim) with platitudes about your having been “a great guy”.

If you’re a ‘bold’ pilot, give the rest of us a break and go skydiving without a chute.  If you’re a responsible pilot of any ultralight or light sport aircraft and you know pilots like the ones I’ve been describing, you owe it to our sport to report that fool’s operations to those who love him – or to the FAA, if the fellow is a real hardhead.  I wish I’d done that with Steve and Bobby.

If you fly a powered paraglider or are carrying a passenger in your trike, never fly over water.  Any aircraft without sufficient glide altitude and not float-equipped and rated has no business in overwater flight.  All trike pilots should enforce this simple rule with our fellow pilots who aspire to the Darwin Award.

Never fly over harsh, forbidding terrain with no emergency landing potential or operate your aircraft in a death-defying style if you have a passenger.  As soon as you take on a passenger, (s)he puts his/her life in your hands.  However competent you think you are, and however invincible – at least respect the lives of others.

By all means, pray for Steve Sprague’s family.  But if he had lived through it, I’d kick his ass.  I pray for the families of Grace Moran, Kim Buergel, Ray Foreman, and Jim Stokes – those pilots’ unwitting passengers.  I pray that everyone who reads my words will learn the lesson of these eight people’s deaths.  Four passengers trusted the judgment of four ‘bold’ pilots whose pilot friends were too easy on their stupid pilot buddies. 

If you love them, don’t be easy on them.  I promise I won’t be.  

David Zuniga
Boerne, Texas 

Added Comments:
Comment by David Zuniga on November 5, 2011 at 3:51pm

Yes, I know (before anyone else says it)...I found a YouTube video of trike flying over Kauai's formidable, jagged mountains and out over the ocean...featuring none other than my trike flying instructor, Paul Hamilton -- the man who wrote the book on WSC training.  As far as I know, Paul was flying solo on that flight but in any case, it's insane. Trike flying fatality statistics will certainly not improve until we all get serious about our responsiblility to one another and to those you take flying. 


Comment by Chris Brandon on November 4, 2011 at 9:16am

Hey David..

You speak my language. All forms of flight require discipline, respect and absolute air-man-ship!

Been flying some 40 yrs in delta wings, from the 1970 kite flying days to hang gliding and since 1982, microlights. In my life I have lost many friends who as pilots sadly allowed their judgement of facts over-ride the true indicators of safe flight.

Your words are strong, correct and refect courage.

Providing the trike manufacturers build there machines to an approved Quality Control Method of Practice, all we need to do as respsonsible pilots is to fly with a simple rule: Are we RAMBO is our aircraft AIRWORTHY.

R - Rested, have we slept well & of clear MIND.

A - Attitude, do we have the sound attitude to make good YES or NO decisions.

M - Medication (are we under any influences that may affect our judgement.

B - 8 Hours Bottle to the Throttle (minimum)

O - Organise, are we and our aircraft organised, certified and safe to command the flight we are attempting.

Sadly, the loss of life in aviation reflects on us all, usually in a negative manner.

Good decisions are the integrity of sound AIR-MAN-SHIP.

Smooth flight my friend.

Chris

Comments

21 Comments

  • Rizwan Bukhari
    by Rizwan Bukhari 2 years ago
    A very nice article. thank you for posting
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 2 years ago
    Quite an arrow about the HI fatalities. I agree that if you want to fly boldly, fly alone or with another pilot that knows exactly what you are about to do. Flying with passengers and students requires a different level of professionalism.
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 2 years ago
    To comment on the Aquilla mentioned in the article... An aquantence of mine sold Steve that trike so I went out of my way and actually sold Steve a nearly new wing to replace the one that came with the Aquilla for only $2000 when he bought that trike because I didn't want him flying it. I knew the trike and I wouldn't have flown in it. IT WAS NOT AIRWORTHY, but at least if the wing was... So he took me up on the deal and 2 weeks later I saw my wing on Barnstormers for $4500 :-)

    And the part about not flying over unlandable terrain. This is so key in my opinion to safety.

    And mostly I like the part about a pilot risking his own life is between him, God, and his life insurance policy!

    Truthfully if I really want to impress my passenger it is by flying so smooth it felt magical and landing so softly they didn't know we landed.
  • Lee Schmitt
    by Lee Schmitt 2 years ago
    i reserve my right to fly boldly, even dangerously (as allowed by the FAR's ). it is my choice as a free man. i do and will fly over water without floats. it should not reflect negatively on any other pilot. of course, we should not place other peoples lives at risk without their well informed consent.
  • John Olson
    by John Olson 2 years ago
    Those pilots may indeed have invited disaster but so far as I can determine the two Kauai accidents have never been investigated as sabotage. But I know that when I worked on Kauai, for Tirds in Paradise, the head turd had really stirred-up the locals on a number of occasions. He seemed quite indifferent to them. Clearly, a few of them hated him.
    I recall being at the field one day, breaking down the trike, when a vehicle sped last with a giant Hawaiian half out the window flipping me the bird. "I'll get you haoli(sp?)!" he yelled. I hoped he had me mistaken for the head turd, I only know that I had not stirred anyone up.
    Another time I got back to the field and was surprised to find two cop cars waiting at the fence, and so I circled high for a while and watched another arrive. Finally I had to land because my fuel was getting low and when I did the cop came over and asked if I had just been buzzing a surf competition. I said no I had not and the cop explained that they had a report a pissed-off local was headed our way and was apparently armed and dangerous. He said the triker a (this was long before Steve or Jim or Paul or anyone else) had been buzzing the guy's son in a scary manner and the moak wanted to kill.
    The other thing I never liked about the way they operate on Kauai is that the trike is set out on the field and just left there so anyone with a grudge and a rock could f things up. How hard would it be to just walk up in the middle of a dark night and wack the leading edge with a hammer? I tell ya, I would not put that past the guy who remains on Kauai. To my mind, he is an unstable character.
    So how do we find out how those trikes broke in the sky? If they both broke in a similar manner, I'd say that ia mighty unlikely, unless some other unsavory character took a hand.
    I was disappointed that I could not stand to work for the Kauai triker, but I was philosophical too. At least, I thought, I won't be killed by an irate Islander. All us haoles look the same you know.
    As for the flying I never thought triking on Kauai was particularly dangerous but then I stayed high. I always had room to land, no matter what the water situation, because I know enough to step on the gas. I saw plenty of occasions when he would fly out where I wouldn't even consider, and ultimately that was where we parted company. I refused to fly where the helicopters fly because it is just nuts, so my work there flying for Tirds in Paradise dried up.
    Amen.
    Well anyway, I said as soon as there was the second crash in Kauai that something smelled like shit. Or turds. But will the investigation ever loom at the wreckage from that angle? Probably not. Could be the Perfect Crime.

    Written with my thumbs.
  • Paul Hamilton
    by Paul Hamilton 2 years ago
    One of these days after all the FAA reports are out I will provide my opinions of David Z, Tedd H, Steve P, Jim G who I know and flew with each and every one of them including checkrides. How to survive the flying and drama, perhaps a book. During my 5 months and 24,000 miles in Hawaii I talked weekly with my friend Oly who advised "get out ASAP". It was hard to leave "Paradise" but I had to.......
  • Captain X
    by Captain X 2 years ago
    Thanks Cherian,
    It seems to have been said a few times in various places here that if you are alone in the aircraft that whatever you do and whatever the outcome it's OK. I would just like to say that I disagree with the concept that it is OK to fly crazy and crash fatally (or semi-fatally) if you are alone.
    I think we all agree that it is absolutely wrong to kill an innocent person in an aircraft with you-- Let's say that's a 10 in terms of maximum wrong. While perhaps flying very safely in a very well maintained aircraft alone may be a 1 in terms of wrongness. I think we should not discount the fact that there's a spectrum in between perfectly right and perfectly wrong. If you fly crazy alone, crash die, leave a widow, a child, a parent, a friend, a business without a loved one, a black spot on our sport (not as large a spot as killing someone else, but still a spot to be sure), risk the lives of those attempting to rescue your dead or semi-dead body, etc, I wouldn't say that's "Right / OK." In fact, if you are flying crazy alone, in many instances there is still no guarantee you won't kill someone innocent on the ground. So, perhaps we might say that on the spectrum of right to wrong, certain activities are crazy enough even if flying alone that they rate a 5,6, or even 9 on the scale of wrong. Let's just not fool ourselves into saying, simply if my backseat is empty I can do no evil.
    That being said, I agree with the general feeling that if you are by yourself, there is a wider spectrum of things that may be acceptable or semi-acceptable and it's your choice. Just make an informed choice and be aware of the risks.

    One of several other things I thought was odd about the article was this: "The lesson is: no overwater flight in a trike without floats. " Floats wouldn't have made any difference in the accidents above as I heard them since the aircraft(s) broke up in flight and plummeted to the surface- in fact, the extra weight of floats might have failed the structure sooner. The lesson from the article, I think, was fly responsibly- as if someone's (maybe just yours) life depends on it. If it takes floats to fly over water responsibly then by all means put floats on.
    Just because my backseat was empty over the water to Catalina did not make what I did 100% safe or without risk to myself, my family, or my sport. People asked to ride with us- we said "No!" We took many precautions and a lot of planning and thought to counter, as much as we were able, the risks. Maybe it was a 3,4,5 or more on the spectrum. I guess all I'm saying is to be aware that whenever you fly, more than just your life is at risk. To counter the risks, you have to be aware of what they are. If you consider the risks, you can make some plans to mitigate the risks to some extent. Do what you can. If you crash alone and die- the problems and heartache are not just over (maybe for you) for others, they've just begun. If you crash and are maimed, they're not even over for you.

    Then again, if you sit on the couch all day and do nothing thinking you are risk free, unfortunately, you are wrong there too- you'll get a fatal blood clot, obesity, heart disease, and maybe even a crazy-flying empty-backseat triker will fall out of the sky on you. No one gets out of here alive.

    Just try and do the right thing and enjoy this life without causing too much pain. ;)
    We're counting on you to at least try & protect our sport.

    I hope this doesn't upset anyone, it isn't meant to. Just wanted to say that an empty back seat isn't the simple answer it has been proposed to be.
  • John Olson
    by John Olson 2 years ago
    Pablo I'm glad you got out of there. PARADISE LOST.
  • scott smith
    by scott smith 2 years ago
    Yeah, what David O said ;)
  • Nathan White
    by Nathan White 2 years ago
    Hey John,
    I think you are right on target. Steve was a good friend of mine and I talked to him about every week or so. It was always entertaining listening to the drama he was going through over there. It sounds like it was a real cut throat business with frequent threats, police complaints, restraining orders and so on. I wish I had recorded some of those conversations. I think the FAA, as well as local and federal law enforcement agencies would love to hear them.

    As far as Steve, he was bold, but I don't think he was ever reckless. He sent me some video footage of flying over there, and yes some of it was over water. But from what I saw, he only did this at one point in the flight, and there was a beach there within glide. He was my initial instructor before I moved 2000 miles away, and he was a real hard ass when it came to safety. He drilled that into me. Most instructors use the +/- 100 feet in altitude and the +/- 10 degrees margins as per the PTS for their maneuvers. Not Steve! His margin was "0"! My checkride was a breeze after flying with Steve. And I think the instructor I finished up with (also an outstanding instructor) was pretty impressed with my safety and conservative flying, something I learned from Steve.
  • John Olson
    by John Olson 2 years ago
    Nathan I do not believe that two trikers broke their trikes over the Garden Isle in just a few months. That is just too coincidental. Especially in light of the animosity between the trikers and thw locals. Those crawled should be investigated as sabotage.
    But then I don't believe the old saw about old/bold pilots either. Look at Yeager for a good example. If he wasn't so bold would we.still have a sound barrier? Nope. There are plenty of bold pilots, and many of them are old too. Some of them are juat plain bad apples by the way. I think YOU might be a bad apple Nathan. Won't you join the bad apple group?
  • Nathan White
    by Nathan White 2 years ago
    Not quite sure how to take that one John. LOL : )
  • John Olson
    by John Olson 2 years ago
    Crawled was supposed to be crashes. Telephone auto correct. But I hope you get my point.
  • Nathan White
    by Nathan White 2 years ago
    Think I'll pass on the "Bad Apple Club" invitation. I like to have fun, but will do it in a controlled environment and within my limitations. There is a huge difference between taking calculated risks and taking chances. I've spent my whole life doing dangerous things- Army Special Forces, sky diving, SCUBA diving, riding Harleys, Paramedic, retired Fire Captain, and now Police Officer and Flying. The so called "adrenalin junkies" like me only make it to my age by realizing the dangers involved, paying attention to detail, learning from the mistakes of others and being conservative. The others that don't do this become statistics. I want to live to fly another day.
  • Ryan  McAnarney
    by Ryan McAnarney 2 years ago
    WOW Nathan you must have been seriously duped or socially inept to the unbelievably crooked ways of that man. Might want to check your head on that guy, He was the biggest crook in the industry, and flew extremely wreckless!!! And that was me that had a restraining order on him, and it was me that he had a restraining order on! You know why??? Because he was trying to do whatever he could to harm the lives of his competetors out here because he was a theif and a liar that tried to destroy peoples lives!!!On a day to day!!!! And This David guy must have been on the field with Jim and I on a day to day basis, to know that i as his wing man wasnt constantly on him about his low altitude flying or different complacent behaviors!!!! Effing Funny!!!! Speculate, blame, point fingers, do all that stuff but remember there are good people that are involved with all that has happened out here, and somewhere in here their are lessons that have been learned the hard way! But do yourselves all a favor and at least call a spade a spade, or have the balls to tell about your experiences and knowledge out here without trying to play to politically correct angle with a bunch of people who blow hard with ego on a day to day basis!! I think this site has turned to shit!!! Nathan you even sound like Sprague clutch bragging about all your endevors! Aloha
  • John Olson
    by John Olson 2 years ago
    I can't recommend you call a spade a spade if you know what's good for you. But a turd's a different thing all together. In fact you can call a turd a turd. In fact, you gotta.
  • Doug Boyle
    by Doug Boyle 2 years ago
    Ryan, You sound angry and a bit childish. There are always different viewpoints and the interpretation is always personal. Just because you might not agree with a viewpoint doesn't mean it's not valid. There is room for everyone's viewpoint on this site and if it doesn't happen to agree with yours, there is no harm.

    Nathan was simply adding a balancing experience he had with the deceased. It doesn't mean he was endorsing the entire behavior. By now, we all have a picture of the checkered past and I doubt many would want to be involved.

    Additionally, you attack Nathan's credentials as bragging. I took it as facts and it provided me with an idea of whom I was listening to in these paragraphs. He comes across as credible whereas you just sound immature. I haven't "walked a mile" in your shoes and have, in the past, empathized with the experiences you've gone through, so I'm not out to judge you; but rather, nudge you in the direction of finding your peace.
  • B  Alvarius
    by B Alvarius 2 years ago
    Well said Doug.

    Language is our common currency and some days my wallet is empty.
  • Abid Farooqui
    by Abid Farooqui 2 years ago
    Hi Ryan, How are you? Its time to learn lessons from this and let all this stuff go. I know you had talked to Jim about low flying and some other things he did because you mentioned those to me before these two accidents happened. I can confirm that.
    So what is there to learn from the fact that you had various discussions with him and he didn't listen or stop? Jim was very experienced both in HG and in trikes and used that experience as his justification of doing something on a regular basis that was not sitting well with you. There is nothing new here. This all has been figured out.

    "Hazardous Attitude 4: Invulnerability 'Nah I dont think it'll happen to me!' Despite the fact that mishaps in aviation do have a rather low percentage probability, many still rest assured on this fact and oft take it for granted. Such attitudes would compromise vigilance and cause pilots to overlook certain issues that they feel are of less importance (going thru checklist twice, good lookout). Remember accidents can happen to ANYONE!"
    Source: http://aviationknowledge.wikidot.com/sop:hazardous-attitudes
    There is no point in having a BRS if low flying is the regular way of flying. BRS won't help much. You can't even deploy it that fast
  • Ryan  McAnarney
    by Ryan McAnarney 2 years ago
    Thank you Abid I have! Thanks for the nudge Doug mighty helpfull of you! I do not like people's misinformed judgemant/commentary of whats taken place out here in accordance to the "Friends or Family or other pilots that have flown with these men"! I do agree that this individuals points come with good intention! And I absolutely disagree with the impulsive/misinformed statement of an individual that so closely "knew" what was going on out here because of his so called friendship with Steve Sprague< and what Steve told him. If hes a cop he should know there is 2 sides! That being said anytime you threaten going to the Fed's on misinfo i will call you out!
  • Magdi Shalash
    by Magdi Shalash 2 years ago
    I first fell on this article on Free to Adventure a week or so ago...I wanted to post it here it didn´t work for me ,am glad it didn´t...
    Abid,Larry,Paul you´re all right & your inputs are much appreciated...everybody else as as a matter of fact...
    am looking forward to read Paul´s finale when the final reports are out...
    I don´t have much to add here since I´ve brought this issue to this Platform months ago..I was hurt like everyone else because of the very unique Bunch this sport represents & especially because of the loss of people we happen to have encountered in this life...& nice people they were...
    Happy Holidays coming up everyone
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