Originally posted by punkinworks
reply to post by airforce47
At this time of year i suspect he got caught in a t storm, he didnt loose conciousnous becauase of altitude, its only 12k ' there.
His plane couldnt go high enough for him to lose to conciousnus.
He got turned around and over flew his landing area.
I found where baron hiltons ranch is, its in mason valley nv, north of a small town called yerrington.
He was way off course, and threaded the needle between June mtn and mammoth mtn , to run into the minarets.
There is no reason for him to fly that direction on purpose, and mammoth and june mtns are very distinct, among the rest of the high sierra peaks,
they are obviously volcanoes.
I have a question for the aeronauticaly inclined, did the aircraft he was flying have an auto pilot.
I ask because of the possiblility that maybe he wasnt concious when the aircraft crashed( heart attack or stroke).
Because honestly it would be very hard to mistake crossing the sierra with, say a small mtn range like you would find in nv.
Either he could not see where he was, caught in a t storm, or he was out, if the plane had an auto pilot.
Other wise he was just hopelesly lost .
Since he was looking for a dry lake bed to try a world land speed record, he would havew gone to the east/n east into nevada
Highly doubtful there was an autopilot in the airplane.
Keep in mind that once the plane is trimmed it will stay at the trimmed altitude, but wander left or right due to the vagaries of winds aloft.
As a small example, if you trim a light plane for 3000' and descend to 2500' without changing trim or engine power settings the plane will climb
back to 3000' with no input from the pilot.
The opposite is also true.
You can get the plane to climb a few hundred feet, but release the controls and it will go back to the altitude the trim was set for.
Surprising to me that he was looking for a Land Speed Record (LSR) site.
Bonneville comes to mind and they're set up for LSR running.
Black lake in the north of Nevada is where the Brits set the jet car land speed record.
If he needed some serious room, Lake Gairdner in Australia is a known LSR site and about 25 x 100 miles in size along with a very deep salt bed.
(Some areas of Bonneville Lake are too thin to run cars on due to the excessive potash mining that went on there for many years. They do have a
restoration project going and the salt is - albeit slowly - coming back.)
Not sure what the weather was in the area the day of the crash, but thunderstorms can spring up pretty quick and surprise everyone including weather
More than likely, the mountain winds were part of the problem.
Usually calm in the mornings and coming in during the early afternoon, it's fairly common for the winds to start earlier in the day and that may be
what happened to Mr. Fossett.
The winds can roll over a mountain and have a descending trend down the other side.
Very few aircraft caught in these winds can climb out of them.
Oxygen is required for the pilot at altitudes 10,000' and above.
For passengers, 12,000 and above - unless the airplane is pressurized.
Pressurized aircraft usually maintain a pressure equivalent to 8000'.
Some pilots can handle the lesser oxygen of 10,000' better than others and some - perhaps Mr. Fossett? - are affected even earlier.
Hikers from out of the area will many times stay a day or two at 5000'-6000' before venturing into the high altitude areas on foot.
My considered guess is that Mr. Fossett suffered from hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and either lost his critical thinking abilities or passed out.
(Edited for clarification.)
[edit on 3-10-2008 by Desert Dawg]