View Full Version : Incapacitated Pilot Over Gulf of Mexico
19th Apr 2012, 16:21
Heard on a Tampa, FL radio station that there's an unresponsive plane circling over the gulf being tracked by two F-15's. Similar to the Payne Stewart Lear?
FlightAware > N48DL (http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N48DL)
19th Apr 2012, 16:36
Its a C421 by the look of things....or should I was WAS a C421. Been indications that it has gone down in the gulf.... Hopefully more news soon, and good ones too.....
19th Apr 2012, 16:48
Knowing nothing about aircraft, I looked at the FlightAware tracker and noticed this Cessna 421 reached an altitude of 32,800 ft. Is this a normal altitude for such an aircraft? I thought only jet aircraft, or turbo props, fly at such altitudes.
According to news reports, the plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico at 12:06, a short while ago. The U.S. Coast Guard is underway.
Here is the track log from FlightAware of this flight:
FlightAware > Flight Track Log > N48DL > 19-Apr-2012 > KASD-KSRQ (http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N48DL/history/20120419/1230Z/KASD/KSRQ/tracklog)
19th Apr 2012, 16:51
421 is pressurized. Having said that, I think the service ceiling should be around FL300 so still seems high...
19th Apr 2012, 17:25
Possibly another crash like those of Payne Stewart and Bo Rein? :(
Payne Stewart Plane Crash Information (http://www.airsafe.com/stewart.htm)
19th Apr 2012, 18:27
I read 28,000 ft and that two F-15's made visual and reported that the windows were fogged over.
Looks like another Payne Stewart type of incident. We'll know more this evening.
Erratic plane over Gulf tracked by U.S. government crashes | The Lookout - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/plane-tracked-u-government-crashes-165627257.html;_ylt=ArksCN3gKOAz_9e9KwjetxWs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNtZmFzZHZtBG1pdANKdW1ib3Ryb24gRlAEcGtnA2Q3MzZmZDNhLTNhYTktM2E3My05Yjc5LTQ5Y2U2ZjhiOWNlNARwb3MDMQRzZWMDanVtYm90cm9uBHZlcgNmNzM0OGMwMC04YTQ4LTExZTEtYjlkZi02NTFmNDBlNGJmMTU-;_ylg=X3oDMTFrM25vcXFyBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdAMEcHQDc2VjdGlvbnMEdGVzdAM-;_ylv=3)
19th Apr 2012, 18:55
USN had an A-3 Skywarrior (Also known as A-3D -nickname ALL 3 DEAD) that lost pressurization and was not responding. F-8 Crusader joined up on it and saw the crew slumped over in their seats. After a while, it flamed out and spun down. Fuselage had minimal damage and the cockpit was intact, but it lived up to its nickname. Oxygen starvation had killed them at altitude.
19th Apr 2012, 18:57
If you look at the Flight Track Log I embedded in an earlier post you'll note that the aircraft reached an altitude of 33000' which it flew at for 3 minutes.
My understanding of the Cessna 421 is that it has a service ceiling of 30,800'. If that's the case, this aircraft flew above its service ceiling for well over 30 minutes, reaching the aforementioned 33000' twice.
Again, being ignorant of these things I don't know if this is "normal" for a pilot to fly an aircraft above its service ceiling for over 30 minutes but it does strike me as unusual. Or am I off the mark here?
19th Apr 2012, 19:21
Interestingly, the type certificate (A7CE, rev 48) does not state a maximum altitude limitation, only a maximum MP above certain altitudes...
wiki states the service ceiling is 30,200 Ft.
So let's wait and see what info is released.
19th Apr 2012, 20:14
"This radar image released by FlightAware.com shows the Cessna 421's flight path, including the erratic circles it made over the Gulf of Mexico. (AFP / Getty Images / April 19, 2012)"
By Rene Lynch
April 19, 2012, 12:14 p.m.
U.S. Coast Guard and Navy forces have been dispatched to the scene of a plane crash off the coast of Florida. So far there is no word about the fate of the pilot believed to have become incapacitated at the controls. The small aircraft circled aimlessly in the skies for hours over the Gulf of Mexico as anxious air traffic controllers watched helplessly.
Air traffic controllers apparently tried for hours to make contact with the pilot, but all attempts failed, pointing to the likelihood that the pilot had perhaps fallen unconscious at the controls, or perhaps suffered a heart attack.
FlightAware.com released the above image of the path of the plane, including the erratic and repetitive circular patterns it made over the Gulf of Mexico...
Plane crashes off Florida coast; fate of pilot unknown - latimes.com (http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-florida-plane-crash-pilot-fate-unknown-20120419,0,5245736.story)
19th Apr 2012, 22:02
Haven't seen any references to anyone other than the pilot. No pax, I wonder?
19th Apr 2012, 23:24
Nope. Just the one on board.
Cessna 421 plane crashes after circling over Gulf of Mexico, FAA had lost contact with pilot | wtsp.com (http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/article/251712/250/Small-plane-crashes-in-Gulf-pilot-lost-contact)
Cessna 421 plane crashes after circling over Gulf of Mexico, FAA had lost contact with pilot
4:55 PM, Apr 19, 2012 | 2 comments
Video: Cessna 421 plane crashes after circling over Gulf of Mexico
A flight tracker shows a plane circling in the Gulf after the pilot apparently became incapacitated. (FlightAware)
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Sarasota, Florida -- The Federal Aviation Administration says a small plane that was flying over the Gulf of Mexico has crashed, hours after all contact with the pilot was lost.
The plane, a twin-engine Cessna 421C, left Slidell, Louisiana Thursday morning with a course set for Sarasota. The FAA lost contact with the plane's pilot shortly before 9 a.m., who was the only person on board.
The FAA tracked the plane on radar, which began circling about 150 miles south of Crestview, Florida. The plane had been flying at about 15,000 feet, but it appears it rose above 30,000 feet after contact with the pilot was lost.
Two F-15 jets from the New Orleans National Guard were already on a mission over the Gulf when they were asked if they could check on the plane.
The jets' pilots reported that the Cessna's windshield was iced over and that the plane was fluctuating between 25,000 and 35,000 feet.
The plane ran out of fuel and crashed at about 12:30 p.m. ET. The U.S. Coast Guard has search-and-rescue aircraft on scene.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Elizabeth Borderland tells the Associated Press the plane landed softly about 120 miles west of Tampa. Planes like the Cessna 421C can glide when it runs out of gas, rather than just dropping out of the sky.
Borderland did not know the condition of the pilot. "The situation is pretty dynamic right now," Boderland said.
The plane reportedly floated rightside up for a time, but it has now begun to sink. The water depth is about 1,500 feet.
CBS affiliate WWL-TV in New Orleans reports the pilot is Dr. Peter Hertzak, a Slidell gynecologist and cosmetic surgeon.
The Cessna is registered to "Lee H. Aviation Inc." in Wilmington, Del.
10 News will have more on this developing story.
20th Apr 2012, 01:41
Two F-15 jets from the New Orleans National Guard....
You know things are getting too gansta in N'awlins when they can jack a couple Eagles from the Louisiana Air National Guard.
Quick, somebody send in the Fayettville 82nd Airborne Division and seal off Lake Ponchatrain with the Norfolk Navy before this thing gets out of hand.
22nd Apr 2012, 15:43
Are there no automatic oxygen masks deployed when there is depressurisation ???? There seem to be too many of this kind of incident.
22nd Apr 2012, 19:56
A de rai Cyflyer! Drop downs are only for the pax.
22nd Apr 2012, 21:10
Drop downs are only for the pax fine. So what provisions are there for flight crew ? The passengers are ok, but the flight crew get incapacitated ?
22nd Apr 2012, 22:03
that was thunk out a while back.. flight crew have a separate O2 supply bottle in the pointy bit. the drop down masks you have in commercial aircraft have chemical O2 producers, which is why during the pax safety brief you are advised to tug on them to start the flow of O2, the tug pulls the firing pin on the canister.
22nd Apr 2012, 22:49
ok...there aren't any drop down masks in a little C421.
I imagine, if you made a choice to use oxygen, there are small outlets and you would have to plug your mask in yourself...this for the passengers
as for the crew...I imagine you could get a quick donning pressure mask. but you might have to pay extra for it, otherwise just a regular little cup maske.
now...please remember the HELIOS AIR crash near ATHENS GREECE in augusut of 2005...the warning horn sounded for excess cabin altitude but the crew thought it was the gear warning (they can sound similiar sort of) but didn't recognize the need to go on oxygen.
it is easy to explain this as an accident, hypoxia, subtle depresurization, or medical problem for the good doctor flying the plane.
Lost in Saigon
26th Apr 2012, 01:32
When I was young and foolish I often flew singe-pilot in both the Cessna 414 and Cessna 421. I often flew in the mid-twenties and never had Supplemental Oxygen onboard the aircraft. Not for crew or passengers.
27th Apr 2012, 12:31
I would be surprised, sevenstroke. Not flown the 421, but I suspect the crew arrangement is similar to the passengers', or at best the same mask plugged in before flight. Quite common on the smaller pressurised aircraft that spend little time much above FL200.