Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mark Darling: Distraught pilot says he survived "suicide crash" without a scratch

CBS4's Jennifer Brice talks with Mark Darling.


Travis Darling (credit: CBS)



EATON, Colo. -- It's hard to imagine anyone walking away from the Jan. 25 plane crash on Rabbit Ears Pass, but the pilot who did talked to CBS station KCNC about how he stayed alive, and he has a message about life and survival.

It wasn't Mark Darling's first plane crash. The first happened years ago and left him with broken bones and in very bad shape. The circumstance of his latest crash is very different because it was not an accident, and Darling has no injuries -- not even a scratch.

"It's just a mashed up ball of aluminum," Darling said of his plane.

A picture of mark Darling's plane illustrates why his survival is a miracle. But within minutes of Jennifer Brice beginning the interview with him, he went another direction.

"Can I stop?" he asked Brice. "This really isn't the story."

When the camera turned back on, Brice continued her interview.

"Did you intentionally fly the plane into the mountain?" Brice asked.

"Yes I did," Darling responded.

Darling was flying over Steamboat Springs where he raised his family. He was overcome with grief thinking about his late son Travis, who died in a car crash two years ago.

Darling wanted to die.

"I make a bad decision at this point. I turn the airplane east toward the mountains," he said. "I say my last goodbyes... I closed my eyes and I wait for the impact."

"I can hear the plane just getting demolished," he said. "(It) started busting through the trees ... I do not have a bruise from the seatbelt, not a scratch on me."

Darling survived the crash but was on the mountain in the cold with no survival gear. Because he didn't file a flight plan, nobody in the aviation world would have known he crashed or where the plane went down.

He has been flying his entire life, but Darling chose not to file that flight plan because he does not have a pilot's license anymore -- he lost it years ago.

He says it was his son's voice that encouraged him and guided him to his phone.

"He's like, 'Dad, you are not going out like this. You're going to get yourself up and you're going to build a fire and you're going to get yourself out of here,'" Darling said.

Darling fought the extreme cold. He now wanted to survive. He searched for his cell phone to no avail. That's when he says his son spoke to him again.

"He says, ;dad.. just walk to the other side of the plane. He says just reach down in the snow. And I grab my phone' At this point, I'm like 'oh my God."

Darling called his sister, then 9-1-1.

Seven hours after crashing, he was rescued -- and is choosing to tell his story to help other grieving people have hope.

"I've never felt more alive in my life," he said. "I don't know what direction it's going to lead me in but, heck yeah, I'm along for the ride now."

Darling says he has not yet spoken to the NTSB who is investigating the crash. He is concerned about the ramifications of intentionally flying a plane into a mountain and not having a pilot's license, but said he will deal with whatever comes his way.

Story, video and photos:   http://www.cbsnews.com

http://registry.faa.gov/N8368U

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA122
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 25, 2015 in Routt County, CO
Aircraft: CESSNA 172F, registration: N8368U
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 25, 2015, about 1100 mountain standard time, a Cessna 172F airplane, N8368U, impacted terrain in the Routt National Forest, Colorado. The private pilot was seriously injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the cross country flight.

The airplane impacted sparely wooded, mountainous terrain at an approximate elevation of 10,000 feet. Both wings were crushed and impact damaged. The fuselage was crushed and distorted. The empennage separated from the aft cabin but remain attached to the airplane via control cables. The right elevator was crushed. The airplane has been retained for further examination.

At 1115, an automated weather reporting facility at the Steamboat Springs Airport (KSBS), located 16 nautical miles to the northwest of the accident site, reported wind from 080 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, an overcast ceiling at 2,500 feet above ground level, temperature 32° Fahrenheit (F), dew point 23° F, and altimeter setting of 30.40 inches of mercury.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Denver FSDO-03






 Members of Grand County Search and Rescue, Routt County Search and Rescue and Grand County EMS extract the victim of a small plane crash via snowmobile near Rabbit Ears Pass on Sunday and take him to a waiting ambulance. He was then placed aboard a medical helicopter and transported to a Front Range hospital. His injuries were not thought to be life-threatening.

Pilot blamed in fatal New Jersey crash after plane struck ground in fog

American Champion 8KCAB Decathlon, N469J: Accident occurred January 15, 2014 in Holland, New Jersey 


HOLLAND TWP. – Joseph Borin flew into the ground last year because he kept flying into deteriorating weather he was not trained to handle, federal investigators have concluded.


In a newly released report, the National Transportation Safety Board said the 71-year-old Readington man was ferrying his newly purchased American Champion 8KCAB Decathlon back to New Jersey when he found himself locked in a dense fog, hitting a stand of trees as the terrain below began to rise.


Borin, who died in the crash, was not instrument-rated, according to the report.


The NTSB said an examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any mechanical malfunctions or failure, and found the orientation and length of the wreckage path consistent with a controlled flight into the ground.


The board said the January 2014 crash in Holland Township highlighted the danger of "scud running," a potentially deadly practice in which pilots without instrument training lower their altitude to avoid clouds and continue to fly. As the ceiling continues to lower, so does the pilot, some times with fatal consequences.


An experienced pilot, Borin had logged 4,000 hours of flight time.


Borin had been returning to Alexandria Airport in New Jersey after purchasing his aerobatics-capable, single-engine aircraft in Wisconsin. The plane had basic flight instrumentation, including an altimeter, vertical speed indicator, airspeed indicator, and turn coordinator, but the NTSB said it was not equipped for instrument flight. It carried a single communications radio and transponder, but no navigation radios.


A handheld GPS device recovered from the wreckage had detailed the track of the aircraft, which maintained an altitude of between 2,000 and 3,000 feet for most of the flight until just before the crash.


According to the NTSB, the weather conditions forecast in the vicinity of Alexandria Airport before the Borin's departure had been consistent with visual meteorological conditions safe for him to fly. However, by the time he was within 50 miles of the airport, the forecast and actual weather conditions had deteriorated.


The weather the day of the crash had been marked by light winds, overcast clouds, with visibility restricted in fog. One witness interviewed by the board said she had heard the low-flying airplane pass over her dairy farm and saw the silhouette of an airplane, but could not identify it because of the dense fog. She said the fog was so low, the plane was flying at an altitude less than the height of some nearby high voltage transmission towers.


Moments later, Borin's plane struck the ground.


The crashed aircraft was found by searchers in Holland Township on Jan. 15, about four-and-a-half hours after the witness from across the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pa., called to report hearing the low-flying plane she believed had crashed.


The NTSB said a handheld tablet computer along with a device capable of receiving in-flight weather updates had been recovered from the wreckage, which could have been used to track the changing weather conditions during the flight.


"The pilot also could have used outside visual references and could have tuned the onboard communications radio to weather reporting stations located along the route of flight," said the board, noting that Borin could have diverted his flight to allow weather conditions to improve rather than continuing to his planned destination.


Story and photos:  http://www.nj.com

NTSB Identification: ERA14FA093

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, January 15, 2014 in Holland, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/27/2015
Aircraft: AMERICAN CHAMPION AIRCRAFT 8KCAB, registration: N469J
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.


The pilot had recently purchased the newly-manufactured airplane from the factory and was returning to his home airport when the accident occurred. The weather conditions initially forecast in the vicinity of the destination airport before the pilot’s departure generally were consistent with visual meteorological conditions; however, by the time the pilot was within 50 miles of the destination airport, the forecast and actual weather conditions had deteriorated to instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). Shortly before the accident, a witness observed the airplane as it flew low above the ground in visibilities of about 150 yards in dense fog. The airplane subsequently impacted the tops of trees located near the peak of rising terrain before impacting the ground. The orientation and length of the wreckage path were consistent with a controlled flight into terrain impact sequence. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures. The accident airplane was not equipped for flight IMC, nor did the pilot hold an instrument rating. A handheld tablet computer along with a device capable of receiving in-flight weather updates was recovered from the wreckage. It could not be determined if the pilot had used the device to observe the changing weather conditions during the accident flight; however, the pilot also could have used outside visual references and could have tuned the onboard communications radio to weather reporting stations located along the route of flight and noted that weather conditions ahead had deteriorated to IMC. Upon encountering IMC, the pilot could have diverted the flight to allow weather conditions to improve rather than continuing to the planned destination.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:


The pilot’s continued visual flight rules flight into instrument meteorological conditions, resulting in controlled flight into trees and terrain.


http://www.ntsb.gov

 http://registry.faa.gov/N469J


Joseph “Joe” Borin




Joe Borin, standing next to a plane during one of Alexandria Field's summer camps, was a mentor to young people interested in aviation. He died January 15, 2014  when his plane crashed in a rural part of Hunterdon County.
 / Photo courtesy Alexandria Field 


Joe Borin, seen here with his granddaughter Annie Rose, was an avid pilot. The Readington Township resident died January 15th when his small plane crashed in Holland Township in Hunterdon County 



The Hunterdon Prosecutor held a press conference at the municipal building in Holland Township on January 16, 2014 following a pilot that died in a plane crash.



Dennis Diaz, air safety inspector for the National Transportation Safety Board, discusses the January 15th, 2014  plane crash in Holland Township in the township municipal building. 






 The Hunterdon Prosecutor held a press conference at the municipal building in Holland Township on Jan. 16, 2014  following a pilot that died in a plane crash.

Edgar County Airport (KPRG): Inconsistencies in excuses for plane crash…

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

As I was cleaning out old boxes and filing papers today, I came across some notes from a “TIPS” meeting I attended last October in Springfield.

One of the items mentioned by the IDOT – Div of Aeronautics was that there was funding available for airports that needed to provide protection from animals, and in particular deer. This money could be used for fencing, or other abatement measures.

What answer did the Edgar County Airport provide for that offer? No Thanks! We don’t have a deer problem and do not expect to need any deterrent measures for deer. We have never had this problem and do not expect to.

Imagine that… Just days after an unreported airplane crash at the Edgar County Airport, with rumors of “a deer ran out in front of it on landing” to “we were testing the generator and were not flying” to “Jerry Griffin was not in the plane” to “Jerry Griffin was a passenger” to “Jerry Griffin was the flight instructor for the owner’s daughter who came in on a hard landing” to “nobody saw anything and nobody knows how the plane got from the runway into the hangar after it crashed“.

One thing that we already proved a lie, was Jerry Griffin stating the crash happened in June or July before he was the airport manager – but the receipts for fuel purchased showed the airplane involved in the crash was fueled up in August – after he was the manager.

Questions are still out there, and answers are slowly trickling in…but the main questions still need an answer” Why lie? and Why keep it a secret?

I suspect both answers will lead to the need to keep things from the insurance company so they will still pay out on the claims.

Original article and comments:   http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com

National Transportation Safety Board: Pilot taking selfies may have led to plane crash that killed 2 near Front Range Airport (FTG), Watkins, Colorado



WATKINS, Colo. — National Transportation Safety Board investigators say a pilot and his passenger might have been taking selfies on board before a deadly plane crash in Adams County.


The NTSB released the report on the crash that killed two people near Front Range Airport on May 31. The report says it’s likely a cellphone distracted the pilot before he lost control of the plane and crashed.

According to the report, the Cessna 150 crashed in a field near East 48th Avenue and Manila Road as it was doing nighttime takeoffs and landings.

Investigators say they found a GoPro camera nearby and video showed the pilot and his passenger taking selfies at low altitudes, even using the flash.

The pilot and owner of the plane was 29-year-old Amritpal Singh of Aurora. The report also says Singh did not meet the requirements to be flying at night with passengers.

The name of the passenger was never released.

Story and video:  http://kdvr.com



 NTSB Identification: CEN14FA265
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 31, 2014 in Watkins, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/27/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 150, registration: N6275G
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane departed on the local night flight in instrument flight rules conditions with 7 miles visibility and overcast clouds at 300 ft above ground level (agl). Radar data showed that the airplane departed the runway, made one flight around the traffic pattern, and landed 6 minutes later. The airplane departed again to the west, did not remain in the traffic pattern, and reached an altitude of 740 ft agl. The airplane made a left turn, which tightened as the airplane descended about 1,900 ft per minute. The airplane impacted a field and bounced one time before it came to rest upright. 

An onboard recording device (GoPro) was found near the wreckage and the files were recovered. Based on the available information, it is likely that the GoPro files were recorded on May 30 and May 31, 2014, with the final GoPro file recorded during the 6-minute flight in the traffic pattern. The accident flight was not recorded. The GoPro recordings revealed that the pilot and various passengers were taking self-photographs with their cell phones and, during the night flight, using the camera’s flash function during the takeoff roll, initial climb, and flight in the traffic pattern. 

A postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Based on the wreckage distribution, which was consistent with a high-speed impact, and the degraded visual reference conditions, it is likely that the pilot experienced spatial disorientation and lost control of the airplane. The evidence is consistent with an aerodynamic stall and subsequent spin into terrain. Based on the evidence of cell phone use during low-altitude maneuvering, including the flight immediately before the accident flight, it is likely that cell phone use during the accident flight distracted the pilot and contributed to the development of spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control. A review of the pilot’s logbooks did not show that he met the currency requirements for flight in instrument meteorological conditions or night flight with passengers.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s loss of control and subsequent aerodynamic stall due to spatial disorientation in night instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s distraction due to his cell phone use while maneuvering at low-altitude.  

NTSB Report: http://www.ntsb.gov

SINGH AMRITPAL: http://registry.faa.gov/N6275G