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Tesla employees' plane crash still a mystery - Was Tesla Motors Targeted?

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posted on Oct, 11 2011 @ 02:46 PM
Another plane crash killing those who are working on a technology that moves us away from Big Oil. Hmmm.
I have no definative information, but Tesla and their electric roadsters have been getting some big news lately. They are attempting to make an electirc car that competes with the Italian supercars.

The report by the National Transportation Safety Board cites recordings made by a police gunfire detection system, which captured the plane's final moments, in concluding that "both engines were operating near full power."

Strange. I wonder if they were getting close to having a workable full electric model that did what was promised?

Tesla Plane Crash a Mystery

More on TESLA:




posted on Oct, 11 2011 @ 03:16 PM
The article says the took off in fog and after veering sharply to the west, hit high tension wires and a tansmission tower. I don't know why they veered right, but if the fog was high enough they probably didn't see the wires or tower until it was too late to make an evasive maneuver. The ShotSpotter recordings seem to indicate they were at full power with no engine problems heard. It is always suspicious when something like this happens to someone in the energy field, but in this case it sounds like pilot error IMO.

edit on 11/10/11 by spirit_horse because: typos

posted on Oct, 11 2011 @ 03:34 PM
reply to post by ColoradoJens

I learn something new every day here on ATS like this ShotSpotter GLS set-up.I had no idea it existed.

As for the unfortunate crash,as suspicious as I am generally,seems to be a tragic accident.With the info given anyway.

posted on Oct, 11 2011 @ 04:10 PM
reply to post by ColoradoJens

Palo Alto Airport is one of many, many in the U.S. that does not have regularly scheduled passenger service.

The pilot of the Cessna 310 was likely (this can be researched) using an IFR flight plan for the departure, which he can then cancel and continue VFR if weather conditions are appropriate. Years ago we used to call this an "IFR to VFR on top" clearance, on top being above the low-lying clouds that form the fog. Rather than filing a full flight plan to destination, this sort of clearance had a "clearance limit" that was a Navaid (VOR) or an intersection...essentially a constructed waypoint.

A wise rule-of-thumb for a Private pilot, though is similar to what's required for passenger operations when departing an airport with visibility that is below the instrument approach minima for a return --- have an alternate in mind, with sufficient visibility minimums. A "Take-Off Alternate". For contingencies that require an immediate landing, such as an engine failure (Cessna 310 is a light-twin airplane).

Technically, although usually not enforced, it is a violation of FARs, what that pilot did:

(1) Unless otherwise authorized by the FAA, no pilot may takeoff from a civil airport under IFR unless the weather conditions at time of takeoff are at or above the weather minimums for IFR takeoff prescribed for that airport under part 97 of this chapter.
(2) If takeoff weather minimums are not prescribed under part 97 of this chapter for a particular airport, the following weather minimums apply to takeoffs under IFR:
(i) For aircraft, other than helicopters, having two engines or less--1 statute mile visibility.....

FAR 91.175

Here is the FAA published departure procedure for Palo Alto, in low visibility:

DEPARTURE PROCEDURE: Rwy 13, turn left.
Rwy 31, turn right. All aircraft climb direct SJC VOR/DME
before proceeding on course.

Official FAA-published Airport Diagram:

You can see more info at

The airport ICAO code is 'KPAO'.

The VFR TAC chart for the SFO area shows an obstruction ("trans twrs") at 377 feet MSL, just north and west of the airport.

Do we know which runway he used? And if the Tower was open (it is not open 24 hours).

PALO ALTO GROUND: 125.0 [0700-2100]
PALO ALTO TOWER: 118.6 [0700-2100]

(Accident was at 0743, IIRC? SO, Tower was open)?

It is ultimately the Pilot in Command's responsibility to be familiar with any obstructions in the vicinity, and plan accordingly.

Humans fail, however (tragically) all too often in matters of aviation and flying......

posted on Oct, 11 2011 @ 04:38 PM
reply to post by ProudBird

The VFR TAC chart for the SFO area shows an obstruction ("trans twrs") at 377 feet MSL, just north and west of the airport.


ETA: From the OP Article:

The plane had flown about a mile northwest after taking off in heavy fog from Palo Alto Airport at 7:54 a.m. when it veered sharply to the west.

Great information! And it says he turned West after takeoff which clearly is where the Obstruction - Transmission Towers with High Tension Wires are indicated.

edit on 11/10/11 by spirit_horse because: add info

posted on Oct, 11 2011 @ 07:00 PM
reply to post by spirit_horse

Thanks spirit_horse - yours is probably correct - still - if they knew the area and had flown from there before, seems suspect they would bank hard full throttle right into it?


posted on Oct, 11 2011 @ 07:01 PM
reply to post by ProudBird

Thanks ProudBird for that information. This would in effect surmise the pilot was unfamiliar with the area and hazards - I'll try to find out more info.

Edit to add: The pilot was Doug Barone. He was considered to be a careful and well trained pilot in addition to being the brains behind the new technology for the roadster...

Tesla Motors, maker of the electric-powered sports car formerly code-named DarkStar, showed off the Roadster's second engineering prototype here Thursday evening at a networking event of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Perhaps even more compelling for the engineers than to see the car was the chance to pick the brain of Doug Bourn, senior electrical engineer for Tesla, who tried to illuminate the inner workings of the Roadster to a sophisticated crowd.

Silicon Valley Checks out Barone's Car

A biography for Bourn posted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2007 says he shares responsibility for the design and testing of the power electronics module for the Tesla Roadster. Before coming to the company, he spent 10 years at IDEO, a product design and development company in Palo Alto.

SF GATE info Doug Barone

Doug Barone

edit on 11-10-2011 by ColoradoJens because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 11 2011 @ 08:21 PM
reply to post by ColoradoJens

The possibility of a physical, medical issue cannot be discounted either. The impact with power lines was about a mile or more away from the airport. No reason for the airplane to be at such a low altitude that far away...after take-off the climb-out would result in plenty of altitude.

Autopsies will likely rule out, or verify, whether the pilot suffered some catastrophic medical condition; stroke, heart attack, etc.

However, if he was healthy, but suffered from a case of vertigo whilst in the clouds, that will be very difficult to determine. Knowing how thick the fog deck was will be helpful, to know at what altitude he would have been on top (if he had made it that far).

I'm also considering the time of morning, in Winter......not sure if it was still pre-dawn. Darkness when flying can also be a factor, since it elevates the levels of difficulty.

posted on Oct, 11 2011 @ 08:32 PM
If the car disappears then it would be more likely that foul play was involved, but as long as another company carry on with their car then id say it was an unfortunate accident,

posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 01:38 AM
Conspiracy to shut them down doesn't seem too likely unless maybe someone is out to "acquire" their technology.

At their current cost of just over 100K a pop they are a novelty item at best so I don't think they are/were going to flood the market anytime soon. Imho its a shame to waste a good Lotus chassis with all the weight since it destroys the cars handling but I guess you have to start somewhere.

Clarkson zipped one around on Top Gear a year or so back for anyone interested.

They are a step in the right direction but still very far away from becoming something actually usable instead of the high dollar toy they are today. Damn battery companies trying to milk every last dollar out of ancient technology.

posted on Oct, 12 2011 @ 10:55 AM
reply to post by Candycab

Thanks for that Candycab and yes, it IS too expensive - speaking of Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear, there was controversy and yes, even conspiracy, it is claimed in court, that the Top Gear producers purposefully claimed it ran out of juice even when engineering records show that wasn't the case...


posted on Feb, 12 2013 @ 04:30 PM
The latest choreography appears to be over a New York times article critical of this roadsters cold weather performance.

This car is not for everybody and likely won't be till after another energy crisis or two. You really need to be a patron of Tesla motors to own one and have a passion for green technology.

posted on Feb, 12 2013 @ 04:43 PM
I'm a pilot....and I don't buy the mainstream many hours did he have on his instrument rating?...more than 12 and this accident was remote controlled crash...or worse, the way things work these days....
yep sounds about right for these days...doesn't it...

posted on Feb, 13 2013 @ 07:30 AM
Along the green conspiracy timeline there is the Japanese Fukushima meltdown and now more recently “father of the Prius” Takeshi Uchiyamada states that "electric cars are not viable".

Translation: Japan bought into an early generation of nuclear power plant infrastructure that has reached end of life, and Japan chose not to upgrade their electric power infrastructure sufficient to charge the nations automobiles at this time in history.

Tesla motors gets a little media air time with a story about their one hour charging stations along route 95 on the east coast. Some reviews of the Tesla model S $100,000 performance car for wealthy trend setters. Built on a well tested Lotus chassis this car is nothing like the birth of the automobile concept vehicles that required maintenance every 300 miles and spent almost as much time being towed by horses or on the side of the road being repaired as being driven.

Still the fact remains that the cost of electricity in the United States will likely make this an uneconomical vehicle choice targeted only towards the wealthy. The P are apparently not planning any Mad Max apocalyptic energy crisis any time soon.

In 50 years once world oil supplies have sufficiently diminished everyone will either be using electric public transit or there will be some kind of "model T" mass produced Tesla vehicle on the roads. That is a long time for Tesla stock holders to wait though.

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