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Fatal Crash Haunts Pal Who Gave Up Her Seat
New York Post ^ | 5/23/05 | Lorena Mongelli and Kate Sheehy

Posted on 05/23/2005 3:06:30 AM PDT by Conservatrix

The high-school senior who cheated death by suddenly backing out of a doomed Coney Island plane ride thanks God she's alive — but feels excruciating guilt over the pal's dad who took her place and died, a friend said yesterday.

"She feels guilty. Wouldn't you?" said Brother Rene Roy, principal of the tiny Catholic school in West Virginia that stricken teen Melissa McCulley attends.

Two of McCulley's best friends, Danielle Block and Jo Beth Gross, both 18, as well as Block's dad, Courtney, and the plane's pilot died in the tragic beach crash Saturday.

(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: West Virginia
KEYWORDS: cary; cessna; coneyisland; planecrash
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Are Cessna's safe?
1 posted on 05/23/2005 3:06:31 AM PDT by Conservatrix
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To: Conservatrix

Darned safe. The safest around. Problem is, in this case apparently, and in the case of 80% of all aircraft mishaps, pilot error.


2 posted on 05/23/2005 3:10:16 AM PDT by Gunrunner2
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To: Gunrunner2

The article says there was some previous sputtering before they took off and eventually crashed. What would have been the cause of that malfunction?


3 posted on 05/23/2005 3:12:29 AM PDT by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Conservatrix
Survivor's Guilt.

Bless her heart...I imagine that's pretty hard to deal with.

4 posted on 05/23/2005 3:13:21 AM PDT by Allegra (The Green Zone....It's a Blast.)
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To: Conservatrix

A failed engine would not have caused the airplane to stall. The pilot, most likely, caused that.


5 posted on 05/23/2005 3:15:25 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: leadpenny

How does a pilot cause the engine to stall?

(I am curious because I have a terrible fear of flying and dread my kids to go in small planes for joyrides...)


6 posted on 05/23/2005 3:18:27 AM PDT by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Conservatrix

No guilt necessary for her.

Realistic guilt is when we know we hurt someone through our own actions.

Unrealist guilt is taking on guilt in a situation when I did not cause hurt.


7 posted on 05/23/2005 3:26:14 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: leadpenny

Most aviation accidents are not the sole result of pilot error or the sole result of mechanical failure. They are most often a result of the two. Often, a mechanical error will occur, and is then compounded by another type of error.

Imagine you are a driving a car down a busy road, and smoke starts coming from under your hood. You take your eyes off the road and are busy scanning the gauges to see if the smoke is from engine overheating or whatever, when you notice your fuel gauge is nearly empty. Now you have a situation that is making you concentrate on what to do when...BLAM! You rear-end a car that had stopped in front of you.

In avation parlance, this is known as "getting behind the curve". While you were troubleshooting the problem, you forgot to drive the car. Often, when a pilot encounters a problem, they become so engrossed that they forget to do things like...keep the plane level or lower the landing gear or flaps. Next thing they know, the stall indicator sounds, they are alarmed and overcompensate and then it is katie bar the door.


8 posted on 05/23/2005 3:30:19 AM PDT by rlmorel
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To: Conservatrix
Are Cessna's safe?

I'm glad this question doesn't get posted everytime a car crashes.....Talk about overloading a web site......

9 posted on 05/23/2005 3:31:03 AM PDT by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some FReepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: Conservatrix

I meant the pilot most likely caused the airplane to stall. I don't know what cause the engine to fail . . . if it did.

I'm guessing they were between 500' and 1000' feet. If the engine failed, the normal reaction would be to put it onto the beach or just into the water along the beach but not to stall it and crash. Just think of the engine and the airplane as two different things. A perfectly good airplane can stall with a perfectly running engine.. By "Stall" I mean the wings quit providing lift.


10 posted on 05/23/2005 3:36:48 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: Conservatrix; leadpenny

http://adamone.rchomepage.com/index6.htm

I believe this is the kind of stall leadpenny was talking about.


11 posted on 05/23/2005 3:37:30 AM PDT by bad company ("A word to the wise ain't necessary -- it's the stupid ones that need the advice.")
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To: Conservatrix
An aircraft can stall even with the engine running at 100% effectiveness. These maneuvers are practiced in training, called "power on" and "traffic pattern" stalls.

A stall is dependent on airspeed, angle of attack (the angle of the wing to the relative wind over the wings), the aircraft configuration, and weight. A stall is not the big a deal--every landing in any aircraft is a controlled stall.

What makes a stall "bad" is that you need altitude to recover the aircraft. If you stall too close to the ground.....then bad things can happen.

12 posted on 05/23/2005 3:39:40 AM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: leadpenny

Morning lead.


13 posted on 05/23/2005 3:40:37 AM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: Onelifetogive

I asked because I have read many articles about plane crashes and they all seem to involves a Cessna.... and JFK died on one, too, didn't he? (Unless you think Hillary did it, the topic of another thread)...

I am sorry you think my question is not appropriate but I do have an intense fear of flying and fear for my children who occasionally fly in small planes. It is sometimes wise to try to understand the thing one fears, as other posts have helped me do.


14 posted on 05/23/2005 3:41:58 AM PDT by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: rlmorel

You explanation makes a lot of sense. I can relate to the car analogy.


15 posted on 05/23/2005 3:43:41 AM PDT by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: rlmorel
Thanks for that. Very interesting. I would guess, then, that the best pilots would instantly know what to do in the case of a problem and be able to compensate while still being able to pay attention to the rest of the plane.

Now that I think about it, fighter pilots really have to get to the point where everything they do is instictive and not waist time thinking about what to do.

16 posted on 05/23/2005 3:44:13 AM PDT by no more apples (BP 65)
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To: SkyPilot

Thanks for your expert perspective!


17 posted on 05/23/2005 3:44:52 AM PDT by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: bad company

Thank you...


18 posted on 05/23/2005 3:46:15 AM PDT by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: rlmorel

Unless there was some unforseen structural failure in flight, it looks like a stall. There may have been other things that could have happened but that is why good pilots are always thinking (without thinking), "what if?" When your low and slow your mind should always have a forced landing plan.

I'm doing what I say I shouldn't do. I'm speculating. A control cable could have gotten stuck. A control surface could have jammed. A purse could have jammed the rudder pedals. Eyewitnesses and the NTSB will, hopefully, solve this one.


19 posted on 05/23/2005 3:46:36 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: Conservatrix
I asked because I have read many articles about plane crashes and they all seem to involves a Cessna.... and JFK died on one, too, didn't he?

JFK Jr. died in a Piper Saratoga.

20 posted on 05/23/2005 3:47:26 AM PDT by Onelifetogive (* Sarcasm tag ALWAYS required. For some FReepers, sarcasm can NEVER be obvious enough.)
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To: SkyPilot

Morning!


21 posted on 05/23/2005 3:49:14 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: Onelifetogive

I appreciate the correction....

anyway small planes (large planes, heights of any kind) scare the *&^%$ out of me.....


22 posted on 05/23/2005 3:50:07 AM PDT by Conservatrix ("He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.")
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To: Onelifetogive

Also, probably because a Cessna is one of the more common planes flown by new pilots.

Bottom line, if you get behind the curve while flying, things can get complicated beyond your ability to react very, very quickly and you can end up in a serious situation.

A great and engrossing read, and one that I have always enjoyed, is "The Shepherd", by Frederick Forsyth. It is a very, very quick read, can be read in a matter of a few hours, and covers this exact subject. If you haven't read it before, you will get goosebumps at the end. I read it every year on Christmas Eve, if I can find the time.


23 posted on 05/23/2005 3:53:51 AM PDT by rlmorel
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To: SkyPilot
"If you stall too close to the ground.....then bad things can happen."

As sometimes happens during dead-stick landings when a pilot tries to stretch a glide... could be what happened here.
24 posted on 05/23/2005 3:53:55 AM PDT by LIConFem (Mein Luftkissenboot ist mit Aalen voll.)
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To: Conservatrix

http://theintelligencer.net/ (The Intelligencer & Wheeling News Register)

Communities, School Mourn Crash Victims
McMECHEN - Students, teachers and community members gathered in front of Bishop Donohue High School Sunday to help each other grieve the loss of students JoBeth Gross, Danielle Block and her father, Courtney.

~ more ~


25 posted on 05/23/2005 3:57:16 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: Conservatrix
JFK junior was flying at night with little or no night-navigation skills.
26 posted on 05/23/2005 4:01:43 AM PDT by johnny7 (Ever wonder what's the 'crust' in 'Ol Crusty'?)
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To: rlmorel

If the engine misbehaved in a previous flight that day, there is a serious question of the pilots competence. You don't go flying with passengers knowing the plane isn't 100% at take off. In addition since the pilot knew there was potential engine trouble he should have been prepared for it. Instead when it happens he stalls the plane and kills everyone on board. Sounds like repeated serious pilot error to me.


27 posted on 05/23/2005 4:05:33 AM PDT by DB (©)
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To: johnny7

A few minutes earlier he was still in daylight with the sun setting behind him. It must have been beautiful riding just above the inversion. Once he went below the inversion, not only was it, for all practical purposes, IMC, but it was night. His was a simple case of vertigo.


28 posted on 05/23/2005 4:10:40 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: Conservatrix

Honestly, if you want to try to get over your fear, see if an airport near you has a flight school that is giving "discovery rides". We had one near my old place in Columbia, SC, that was doing that; they were $99 and they'd take you up for a bit under an hour, fly over town, fly over a nearby lake, show the plane off, let you take the controls for a bit. I'm kicking myself for never taking one.

The airplanes themselves are extremely safe and extremely reliable. It all boils down to the pilot, really. The vast majority of aviation accidents are, directly or indirectly, human error.

}:-)4


29 posted on 05/23/2005 4:35:03 AM PDT by Moose4 (Richmond, Virginia--commemorating 140 years of Yankee occupation.)
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To: Conservatrix
Just a guess, and knowing non-pilot types wouldn't know much about flying. . ."sputtering" could be a number of things, from bad gas to wrong mixture. Additionally, the pilot erred if he was aware of a potential engine problem and elected to fly anyway.

Right now we don't know enough to comment on the exact cause of the mishap. We will shortly, as NTSB mishap investigators are very good.
30 posted on 05/23/2005 4:35:32 AM PDT by Gunrunner2
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To: Conservatrix

And, oh by the way. . .a loss of an engine doesn't mean it immediately goes into a dive and crashes. The aircraft is rather light and gliding is the thing to do when you lose an engine.


31 posted on 05/23/2005 4:37:15 AM PDT by Gunrunner2
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To: Conservatrix
From yesterday's New York Post

37,000 Cesna Skyhawk sold world wide. It is by far the most popular plane.

There have been 102 deadly crashes.

Popular with families who often use the plane for vacation trips.

32 posted on 05/23/2005 4:40:25 AM PDT by OldFriend (MAJOR TAMMY DUCKWORTH.....INSPIRATIONAL)
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To: leadpenny
I'd say demanding the aircraft fly when it didn't have the airspeed caused it to stall. An engine failing doesn't mean an aircraft stall. Stall is exceeding the critical angle of attack and disruption of the smooth airflow over the wing. Losing an engine and all the guy had to do was roll out wings level, establish a glide and come in for a glider landing. The fact that he hit the ground nearly vertical indicates a stall but is hardly conclusive of an engine problem. In fact, when faced with a nose down situation pilots usually pull back on the throttle and this sudden (apparent) loss of power may lead the untrained observer to think the engine quite when in fact it had not. It is as likely the pilot wasn't paying attention to his altitude and airspeed and stalled the aircraft while in a tight turn and went it. But until the report comes in, it is certain we can;'t be certain what happened.
33 posted on 05/23/2005 4:41:38 AM PDT by Gunrunner2
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To: leadpenny

Misread your post. . .time for more coffee.

;-)


34 posted on 05/23/2005 4:42:35 AM PDT by Gunrunner2
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To: Conservatrix
>>I asked because I have read many articles about plane crashes and they all seem to involves a Cessna.... <<

Understand your concern. . .but keep in mind most mishaps involve Cessna's because most light aircraft flown by the general public are Cessna's.
35 posted on 05/23/2005 4:44:26 AM PDT by Gunrunner2
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To: no more apples
Fighter pilots do makes errors (not me though---ha).

Actually, we all do as we fly along the edges of the envelop all the time. Thing is, we are trained to know and be comfortable with any attitude at any airspeed and to use our experience and skill to perform (and stay alive). That said, we do make errors and as someone once said, aviation is a very unforgiving environment and you hope to live long enough for your clue-bag to fill up before your luck-bag runs out.
37 posted on 05/23/2005 4:48:56 AM PDT by Gunrunner2
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To: Gunrunner2
In fact, when faced with a nose down situation pilots usually pull back on the throttle and this sudden (apparent) loss of power may lead the untrained observer to think the engine quite when in fact it had not.

I mentioned something like that on another theard over the weekend. Especially if you're low and and you have a windscreen full of ground at low altitude. The sound of the engine sputtering (throttle pulled back) could have hit the ears of those on the ground before they saw the spiral.

38 posted on 05/23/2005 4:50:37 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: Conservatrix
I asked because I have read many articles about plane crashes and they all seem to involves a Cessna

The other posters are right -- you hear about them more because there are a lot of them. Cessnas are the Honda Accords of the sky. They are nice, stable, predictable aircraft. Even spin recovery is docile compared to some other aircraft (not that I'd want to have to do it at pattern altitude), and stalls are fairly placid affairs.

Usually when I read an account of a fatal Cessna crash, it involves a pilot flying into icing conditions or weather he is not prepared for. It's not hard to quickly get in over your head in an airplane if you aren't very careful at all times.

39 posted on 05/23/2005 4:51:58 AM PDT by RogueIsland
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To: Moose4; Conservatrix
Where would you rather be?

I have flown Cessna's since 1965. I have had one "engine-out' landing, and one near miss. I am still able to walk and post...

If you ever see an ad for free rides, or cheap ones, go as fast as you can, to the head of the line. You will never regret it. It's fun, easy, and safe!

There is nothing as exhiliarating, short of spending time with your spouse!


40 posted on 05/23/2005 4:53:12 AM PDT by pageonetoo (You'll spot their posts soon enough!)
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To: Moose4; Conservatrix

Moose4 gave some good advice. I think the best way to get over the fear is just to hop into a Cessna with an instructor on a calm day. The level of control that a pilot has over the plane is really amazing.

I used to be afraid of flying, but took a flight at my local airport for $60. Once up to 3000' or so, the instructor pulled the thottle to idle (simulating engine failure), set the pitch of the plane so that a constant, safe airspeed was maintained, then said "See all of those fields down there? You can land in any one of those with this plane". That went a long way towards calming my fears.

My point is, the things don't fall like rocks out of the sky. Usually, somebody gets distracted or doesn't follow a checklist for most of these accidents. When you take that first trip with an instructor, believe me, he/she'll make sure it's the smoothest, safest flight you ever took in your life. After all, they want you to come back for more lessons. :)


41 posted on 05/23/2005 5:00:26 AM PDT by Textide
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To: Conservatrix
"She feels guilty. Wouldn't you?"

No. Did she know of the plane crash before it happened? Did she force they other person into her seat?

Obviously "No" to both questions.

Guilt is a fact not a feeling. One is either guilty or not guilty.

One can be guilty and wrongly not feel any conviction. One can also be not guilty and wrongly feel some conviction.

Both extremes are equally repugnant.

42 posted on 05/23/2005 5:01:00 AM PDT by Bear_Slayer (DOC - 81MM Mortars, Wpns CO. 2/3 KMCAS 86 - 89)
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To: Bear_Slayer
This young lady needs to read about Waylon Jennings and learn from what he went through.
43 posted on 05/23/2005 5:05:03 AM PDT by vetvetdoug (Shiloh, Corinth, Iuka, Brices Crossroads, Harrisburg, Britton Lane, Holly Springs, Hatchie Bridge,)
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To: vetvetdoug
This young lady needs to read about Waylon Jennings and learn from what he went through

I know who he is, but I'm at a loss regarding anything else. Can you elaborate or direct to more info?

Thanks.

44 posted on 05/23/2005 5:07:50 AM PDT by Bear_Slayer (DOC - 81MM Mortars, Wpns CO. 2/3 KMCAS 86 - 89)
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To: defibrillator

You either have a serious problem with your graphic, or the post was intended to disrupt. Which is it?


45 posted on 05/23/2005 5:15:58 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (Grant no power to government you would not want your worst enemies to wield against you.)
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To: Bear_Slayer

Waylon gave up his seat on the plane too. The guys who took the flight were Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, and The Big Bopper. Waylon made it to their deatination on the bus, the others didn't.


47 posted on 05/23/2005 5:19:25 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (Grant no power to government you would not want your worst enemies to wield against you.)
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To: leadpenny
Actually, that area has been dubbed the Socialist-Triangle.

It runs from Martha's Vineyard to Nantucket and then Hyannis... many strange occurrences have happened here.

48 posted on 05/23/2005 5:19:59 AM PDT by johnny7 (Ever wonder what's the 'crust' in 'Ol Crusty'?)
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To: defibrillator; Admin Moderator; All
I am not sure if everyone else is experiencing the problem with your graphic, so we will leave it up to the mods. I am on DSL and having a heck of a time with the slow load and garbled image.

I have noticed your signup date as well. New behaviour pattern for a troll...

49 posted on 05/23/2005 5:23:47 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (Grant no power to government you would not want your worst enemies to wield against you.)
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To: Smokin' Joe
I know the story, I never realized it was Jennings that gave up his seat.

I'll have to go back and read it again.

50 posted on 05/23/2005 5:25:52 AM PDT by Bear_Slayer (DOC - 81MM Mortars, Wpns CO. 2/3 KMCAS 86 - 89)
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