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Original post made
on Feb 17, 2010
Sad to hear that the pilot and passengers did not make it. I send condolences to the family members. I pray for strength for the family that have to find a new place to live or rebuild.
Iam glad the people living in those neighborhood didn't lose any lives. People who use Palo Alto airport need to be mindful of the people living around those neighborhoods. The well-to-dos who are using this neighborhood for their flying adventure need to be more cautious and careful during bad weather days so that it doesn't cause all these subsequent events like fires and power outagess,smoke,evauation,etc...
I guess this may be old news now but here is a pretty interesting blog post from somebody on the ground when this whole thing happened:
Kanank... the pilots are hardly using EPA for their flying adventure, and are very mindful of avoiding a fiery death. The airport had visibility of about 1nm at the time of departure, and the pilot filed a flight plan (which indicates he was following instrument flight rules). The procedure for southbound departures is to turn RIGHT off the runway 10 degrees and continue climbing until the Dumbarton prior to turning left (to reduce noise in EPA)... the 'Left Dumbarton' departure. There is no way this pilot purposefully flew over EPA for an 'adventure'. One of the most dangerous places to be flying is in a light twin aircraft which loses an engine shortly after takeoff... it requires quick decisive action on the pilot's part to 1) identify that the engine has lost power, 2) feather the prop on the bad engine to reduce the drag it is producing (and the resulting yawing moment trying to turn the aircraft in the direction of the lost engine), 3) check the airspeed... if it is close to the minimum control speed, reduce power and descend to gain speed (or enter an inverted spin and certain death), otherwise bank 5 degrees toward the good engine and increase power on the good engine to maintain altitude. If these do not happen quickly and in the right order, the results are usually catastrophic. My guess is that the pilot lost an engine shortly after takeoff, never made it out of the fog and was trying to keep above the minimum control speed by descending when he hit the power lines. Managing all these things in the fog, where the pilot is using instruments to fly rather than visual and with the worst possible scenario (engine out after takeoff) is alot to handle even for experienced pilots... knowing exactly what to do, remembering it in an emergency situation and doing it in time is very difficult. I recall a discussion with a very light jet manufacturer that indicated some of their experienced pilots when flying emergencies in simulations forgot the aircraft had a parachute. The way the mind works under such conditions is hard to predict... a couple of sites you should read before coming to the conclusion that this tragedy is the result of someone out on a joy ride over EPA:
Saddened for the families of the deceased. Also saddened that nothing is being done to help the family who lost their home.
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