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Family rescued from downed airplane by helicopter in subzero conditions

A family of five — including 2-year-old twins and a newborn infant — were rescued unhurt Monday after the airplane they were traveling in ran out of fuel and landed in a remote desert area that could not have been reached for hours by rescuers in tracked vehicles. ( More...

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Martin Cooper 17
As the FAA accident examiner is going to tell this pilot, "There is no excuse for running out of FUEL."
Brent Bahler 28
It is roughly 750 air miles from Wayne, Nebraska to Heber, Utah - the pilot’s destination. Let’s hope he was not expecting to make the flight non-stop, but rather was planning to refuel in Rock Springs (some 600 miles from his point of departure). Instead the headwinds he experienced more than 100 miles east prematurely depleted his fuel. He was lucky to be able to glide in for a safe touchdown. I hope he learned that better flight planning is required for his next journey.
bbabis 5
The Eastbound leg was a piece of cake. What could possibly be different about going back? Hummm...
Gross negligence ,if you ask me....Forget learning a lesson ; his ticket should be lifted !!
Absolutely NO reason to run out of fuel not due to some mechanical issue. NONE!!!! As pilots the hardest skill to master is the ability to say NO to yourself. If you cannot develop the discipline you will eventually die. Unfortunately you will most likely take innocent people with you.
Totally agree. There is no excuse for a pilot to not make sure he has enough fuel. To put his family (and any passenger) in such a dangerous situation ishould have consequences for a fine and temporary suspension of his pilots license to hopefully insure it never happens again.
bartmiller 14
Very surprising but not uncommon. Day-VFR requires only 30 minute reserves. That’s tight. I tend to use 60 minutes.
bbabis 18
All new pilots get two buckets when they get their ticket. A full bucket of luck and an empty bucket of experience. The main goal of a pilot is then to fill your bucket of experience before your bucket of luck runs out. He used up a lot of his luck. Hopefully his experience bucket doesn’t have a hole in it.
MrTommy 1
Well put . . . .
David Mays 1
That's awesome. Might I use that with some of my employees? Thanks Bill.
bbabis 2
It's free to use. I heard that early on in my career and may not have stated it exactly right but it has stayed with me throughout.
N107Sugar 10
Let me get this right.... the pilot is flying cross country over a very desolate area with his wife and kids through frigid weather and he runs out of gas??? I bet he sleeps in the spare bedroom for a long time! I also bet his wife will never go up with him again. A transcript of their conversation while waiting for someone to save their butts would be priceless:)
mike walker 4
This poor guy has been castigated to the max already, so I'll refrain. I give him and God a plus 1 for putting the craft/ occupants down unscathed at sunset with only a damaged ego....and didn't wipe anyone out on I-80. It has been said that lady experience is a great teacher. I'm hoping that's the case here. Unfortunately for the pilot community, she kills way too many of her students. I liked the bucket analogy used earlier in this thread. It's undetermined if the luck bucket was planned to be used again for the night flight over the ugly terrain on down to Heber. I would have to plead guilty to making many SE night flights years ago drawing from the luck bucket.....until I had one quit in the daytime.
The least expensive piece of fuel safety equipment I purchased 20 yrs ago was a JPI 450 fuel totalizer/computer connected to a certified GPS. Compared to all the other whiz bang stuff today, they are still inexpensive and accurate as long as only YOU fuel the plane. It constantly uses your ground speed to calculate all the time parameters as the flight progresses at your current fuel burn. Flying LOP, one can play with "go fast or go far" fuel flows and evaluate fuel stop decisions. For longer flights using the 450, I supplement the data by keeping running totals of climbout burn, totals of used/remaining for each tank and the time each tank got switched on a kneeboard. (Remember those?)
Not mentioned so far here is the importance In the fuel stop decision making process of the proximity of available fuel stops to each other. Things are so widespread in Wyoming that even jack rabbits carry lunch boxes. Living in Heber and being familiar with the area, I would tend to doubt the news report that he realized he wouldn't make RKS as he passed Rawlins, and just flew on anyway, knowing how far it was to Rock Springs with a headwind and darkness approaching.
Anyway, I'm glad this family gets to fly another day. Everyone here needs to take heed.....make sure you're always on your game with no screw ups that ever make it to the public domain, as the Internet punishment might be worse than an FAA mandated 709 ride.
dieselwine 16
WTF!... The ignorance /chances people still make are astonishing. I bet his flight instructor never covered ADM. (2) 2yr and a new born! I'm absolutely glad they walked away and pray that this "pilot" gets a good lashing from from a Darwin stick...

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

dieselwine 0
you'r sarcasm brings no points on this site, wise the @#ck! up and realize that flying is no joke and the art of piloting is in a dying age because of comments like yours and actions like his!
There's no need to be so sanctimonious, dieselwine. This pilot made an inexcusable error, the significance of which was compounded by the presence of his wife and small children. As Albert Schweitzer famously said, some things are too serious not to laugh about.
dieselwine 0
Big words and reasoning still lay the foundation for the obtuse...FAA Wings, AOPA Safety, EAA Seminars etc. all lean heavy on these recurring avoidable accidents and on the mental process as to why pilots still make them. If people spoke about the occurrences as they truly are, stupid, ignorant, illegal then just maybe it will change someones thought process and save a life.

Sanctimonious, as to instructing pilots to the real world errors of flying and how to avoid them, then yes!

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

bentwing60 4
Is it possible for you to be ever present ,bt, without the ever present snark?
“While flying into Rawlins, the plane encountered ‘an unexpected strong headwind’, and the pilot realized he would run out of fuel before reaching the Rock Springs airport.”

So instead of landing in Rawlins, he continued despite knowing he couldn’t make it to Rock Springs? What am I missing?
Kudos to the rescue TEAM.A real "Live" lesson in cooperation and good communication (and execution) . The coordinated effort saved lives 3 Hours and 15 minutes after the flight was abruptly ended. Lives were Absolutely saved . Well Done !!
Willie Wonka 2
I'm sure the insurance company will want to have a word or two with him.
i think i can, i think i can, i think i can,
nope i cant
Gary Bennett 2
So glad the outcome was as good as it was. As for as all of you never have done, never will do people I hope the outcome is as good for you.
Jamar Jackson 4
I’m sure he was a low time pilot that had an angel on his side. Hope he buys a lotto ticket.
Talk about having your head in the clouds.............
Mike Garrison 1
Good thing he didn't bring his other wives!
Don Jones 1
Concur with the comments. The good news; all are safe.
Shenghao Han 1
Now, time to rescue the poor Archer standee in a field in subzero conditions...
paul gilpin 0
WTH was harrison ford doing in nebraska?
randyvanvliet 0
Inexcusable... Gottagetthereitis gonna get you and innocent family killed. If not the crash, frozen to death. Did he have emergency supplies for his family on board, too?
crk112 1
Not sure why your commend got downvoted... you hit the nail on the head here. No excuse whatsoever for this pilot.
Yuriy Kravchuk -2
Probably not his first trip on this route and the pilot could have been complacent or distracted. Very easy to get distracted by passengers on board and not pay attention to flight gauges, especially in auto-pilot mode.
Scott Mason -1
Suspect having 2yo twins and a newborn contributed to the error.
gerardo godoy -3
Not very smart to fly with all the family in a single engine aircraft and in winter to add.His license should be revoked at least for a year. Maybe, just maybe the guy would learn something.
do you suggest he should have flown his family in a 747?
diamondx 1
Very witty Tomasz, still lol.


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