posted on Oct, 2 2008 @ 11:47 AM
I see quite a few references to "not survivable" landings in the rugged areas of the Sierra.
Not necessarily true.
Granted, mountain flying in a small plane can be dangerous and one reason that most of it is accomplished in the early morning hours after dawn.
Since Mr. Fossett was flying an aerobatic plane and was a skilled pilot he could have set the aircraft down at a very low speed.
That's assuming he wasn't blown into a bad area - trees, cliffs, etc. - by the strong mountain winds.
It can be very difficult to get out of the grip of such a wind when flying light aircraft.
When I flew Cessna 150's - a high wing single engine trainer airplane - part of the student pilot training was "slow-flight."
At times we would see an indicated 35 mph.
Stall speed on the 150-C is 50 mph and the reason the plane doesn't stall when in the slow flight regime is that the engine is at max power so the
thrust vector angle and windstream from the prop adds to the lift.
The 35 mph figure could be off a bit due to the extreme nose-up angle which can create airspeed indicator accuracies due to the pitot tube does not
register correct airspeed unless it's square to the oncoming airflow.
Regardless, slow flight is quite slow and a few times my instructor demonstrated you could use it to land in a very short area if you were flying into
An additional experience was joining a pilot who was flying a retractable gear high wing single engine Cessna four passenger - forget the model number
- and doing what's called air work.
Something a lot of newly licensed pilots fail to do after their basic training and obtaining their basic license.
He did steep turns, approach to a stall, slow flight and most importantly we made quite a few simulated dead-stick approaches to a short (2500'
usable) country asphalt runway airport.
It was an interesting and fun afternoon for the two of us.
Three weeks later that same pilot and airplane with a total of four aboard lost the engine near Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe as most of you know is rugged and heavily forested.
He set the plane down in the best area he could find - which was tough to say the least.
No one got hurt, the plane was damaged, but upright.
It was later helicoptered out, taken to a nearby field, stripped of it's wings and trailered to it's home airport in Central California.
The plane was rebuilt and I understand still flying today.
I'd bet as well the pilot is still doing airwork when he can and retaining flight proficiency.
Kudo's to the honest hiker who found the money, cards etc.
Since he didn't know who Mr. Fossett was he could have tossed the cards, kept the money and the mystery perhaps would have joined the likes of the DB