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Discussion in 'Gone West' started by SixPapaCharlie, Jul 1, 2015.
Very sorry to hear this news, Bryan.
My deepest condolences to you guys in the loss of your friends and all families affected.
It took me time to find it, but I remember reading Walt's response from a thread about being addicted to aviation. I remember it because I remember feeling a little jealous of him. He certainly loved it all.
I fly for work, as well as for fun - more for work than for fun. Sucks to open POA and read this. Never met the guys but probably crossed paths. Sorry for the loss for those that knew them.
Flying this evening was difficult. As I passed the end of the runway, I looked down at the houses I would soon be overflying, and my thoughts were on the two guys who lost their lives.
Would the engine keep running? What would I do if it quit? Usually flying clears my mind, but tonight my thoughts were uncharacteristically cluttered.
Foremost in my mind: Was this pointless flight worth the risk? Was any of this really worth putting my life on the line?
Then, I arced out over the water, and saw the sun dancing on the cloud tops. Overflying the beach, looking at the tens of thousands of tourists pouring onto Mustang Island, I remembered why it was worth the risk, and my heart soared.
Later, as we had beers with our hangar neighbors -- three generations of pilots -- their youngest son was up doing touch and goes in the family Champ as the sun set, and all was right with the world.
Flying is life, at least for me. I suspect it was for Walt and Joe, too. I hope if something ever happens to Mary and me, my family will understand that.
Very sad. I just spent a couple hours on Walt's personal and his Rockin' M facebook pages. Such a loss for his wife and family, not to mention the aviation community.
I didn't know either of them, but the hole they leave in the world is very large.
Close personal friend of Walt reports this afternoon on the Comanche board "power loss shortly after takeoff, possible attempt at the impossible turn." No word on cause of engine out.
That would explain the location of the crash....
Kick the tires
Light the fires
CAVU, Walt and Joe.
Unless there was an eyewitness, then it's just speculation...something I'll avoid getting drawn into.
There was. 6PC spoke with him. Happened right in front of this guy working a road crew.
Today, I learned that one of our tenants and a guy I talked to last week died in an auto accident. He was on a motorcycle.
What is with this time of year?
Warm weather brings out motorcyclists and pilots. With motorcycles, drivers just aren't used to seeing them, with sometimes terrible results.
WRT flying, in Iowa and Wisconsin we used to hear and see some truly scary pilots flying, on those first few warm weekends, as they shook off 5 months of rust.
Of course, it's not just motorcycles and airplanes. Our little island is packed with 150,000+ tourists for the long holiday weekend, and the ambulances have been wailing around the clock. Alcohol, combined with cars and golf carts sharing the roads, has become a growing problem here. Add to that surfing accidents, drowning, etc., and our EMS guys have been busy.
An active summertime lifestyle is filled with risks.
I'm a little late to the thread, but I wanted to offer my sincere condolences to those of you who were friends of these men, and to the family. I didn't know them, but it sounds like they were good men and I'm sorry the world lost them. If we don't all know someone who has met a similar fate, we surely will at some point, and it's never easy to swallow. What we do is dangerous, period. We do something that man was not built to do, often in machines that are quite a bit older than we are. We do what we can to minimize the risks, but we do it because we love it, and despite these men meeting their end too soon, they went out doing what they clearly loved to do. It's always hard for those loved ones left behind when something like this happens, but it beats the hell out of going out like a vegetable in a hospital bed, or suffering the indignity of dying a slow death in a nursing home. However, it's always better for one to get to live a long and happy life. Tomorrow is not promised, so we just have to live life while we can. Rest in peace, Walt and Joe.
The intrepid may not live as long but the meek and timid don't live at all.
Still trying to understand how this can happen, it won't be the same at Reklaw without seeing Walt there. I know if Walt had survived, he would have been flying again as soon as possible. We'll have a memorial for him next Saturday and it's going to be tough.
As we know, witnesses aren't often reliable, especially when they're not pilots. The witness mentioned he saw fire in the engine. If this is true, he may have had smoke in the cockpit as well.
I will say if Walt took off to the South, there is almost nowhere to land straight ahead. With the recent flooding, the lake isn't far from the end of his runway. If for any reason he had engine problems, it would be very tempting to turn back. He cleared the power lines and then hit the field right after. As his wife has said, he knew the house to his right had a family with two small children. He may have turned to get further away as well, losing more energy.
No matter what happened, I'm truly happy to have known and flown with Walt. He was a damn good pilot and loved everything about aviation. It won't be the same without him.
For those that knew Walt:
MEMORIAL SERVICES FOR WALTER STEWART MEZIERE
Saturday, July 11, 2015 - 5pm
Rockin 'M Ranch Wedding Glade
Please share with anyone touched by our precious Walter Stewart Meziere, Jr.
Your love & friendship is appreciated & valued!
We know that this was a highly experienced flight crew and that the plane almost certainly suffered an engine failure. The point is that so many people are always going on about stupid pilots just not conducting emergency landings properly, that VMC is totally survivable, etc.
These guys landed in an open field in CAVU conditions, in a plane with a low stall speed, and died. Maybe they attempted the impossible turn with disastrous results. But even if they did, we all think we know better than to attempt it. They probably did too. None of us know exactly how we are going to react in a true emergency engine-out situation at 500 feet.
The fact is that flying on a single engine is a risky business, even VMC.
The local forum said they have a group that are going to do missing man formation over the memorial.
Attached are a few photos that I took of Walt the weekend that I flew down to his airstrip and spent the night. He had such a great smile.
I attended the memorial celebrating the life of Joe and also the one for Walt today.
I don't ever want to go to another one of these. We saw unimaginable sadness and strength in those left behind. A tremendously beautiful and painful day for so many people today. We heard so many great stories from those closest to them.
Missing Man formation fly over today at Walt's memorial.
I couldn't make it to Joe's, but was able to get to Walt's (a little late, but I wouldn't have missed it). It was a nice memorial. Amazing turnout, he touched a lot of people.
The highest praise you can give any aviator. Well done, all.
Looks like it was a very moving ceremony. Thanks for the pictures.
It was tough being there, but I wouldn't have missed it. I did a few low passes on the way in and the way out... if he'd been standing there by the runway with a radio in-hand, he would have asked me to do it.
Well, from what we knew and what witnesses told us, we suspected water in the fuel. The NTSB has confirmed this. For those of you that didn't know Walt, we lost two good people that day and both were pilots. The plane had sat out in the rain for some heavy storms. We'll never understand why two pilots chose to skip checking the fuel. Please remember not to take any shortcuts. Losing a good friend is still hard to deal with... knowing it could have easily prevented makes it harder. CEN15FA287
I didn't have the privilege of knowing them, but I'd like to assume the best. Perhaps they did check the fuel, but the entire sump was water. Can be hard to tell it's not fuel in a blue-stained fuel strainer.
It's also worth noting that there are a number of airplanes that can hide water in various areas of the tanks. There was another crash where the pilot survived after the engine quit at about 200 ft AGL. He did sump the tanks, but they pulled a quart of water out of them afterwards. The water hid in the tanks.
- I don't know every type of Comanche, but the ones I know dont make it easy to check the tanks for for water. You actuate a knob inside and it pees fuel on the ramp (or into the grass) under the center of the plane. You cycle through the 4 tanks and drain 'enough' fuel to clear it out. It's not as simple as draining some fuel into a jar. Unless you use a helper and position a bowl under the plane, you could end up draining solid water into the grass and not know it.
- The Comanche has bladder tanks. While they are not known to be as troublesome as other types with bladder tanks, they CAN retain water in folds.
So I dont think the fact that there was water in the system necessarily means they failed to check.
Every year at annual we have the gas cap o-ring seals replaced. It's cheap to do, and I believe it helps since the gas caps are recessed.
Thanks for the replies about how difficult it is to check. I hope they checked and just didn't get it all. There was a lot of water collected after the crash. From day one, I had someone who was there tell me he didn't think they checked, so we've suspected this all along.
Either way, they're gone. Even if you didn't know these guys, you may have read here that they both left behind their newly wed wives. They were going to fuel the plane for Walt and Chellie's honeymoon trip. He would want you to take this example as a reminder to always check your fuel. Even if he did, I see a lot of people who don't.
My favorite uncle had just installed one of those newfangled DME things in his Cessna 170 so he had a better way to navigate on the delayed honeymoon trip around the country with his pregnant wife. On the flight back from the avionics shop, he bounced the landing, stalled during the recovery and crashed into the side of a hangar.
It's a duller world without Walt, and yes, he'd mock you severely if you chose not to learn from his mistakes. More than a couple of times, when I have gone to fly for the fun of it, I've thought of zipping over to T14; never again to hear Walt's voice on the handheld, "Come on down and have a cold water!"
Rock the wings. Always rock the wings. Unbelievable to me that a plane that was known to have sat out in heavy rain didn't get a thorough sump check. I guess I have been paranoid of water from any plane that sits on the ramp personally.
You're paranoid? My plane is hangared and I sump it before taking it out!
Oh, I do too. My plane is hangared as well, but it always gets sumped before it goes in the air. But when it's been tied down outside and particularly when it's rained, I rock the hell out of the wings and sump repeatedly.
Sorry to hear, Bryan. It is always hard when we lose a pilot (or two) but it is even harder if we lose pilots we knew.
R.I.P., Walt and Joe!
Final Report came out today:
Tip: Looking at blue stuff against a blue sky is dumb yet that's the most common way pilots check if you watch people on the ramp. Hold the fuel up to something WHITE. Side of the airplane, your checklist, whatever. Not the sky.
And the comments about how hard it is to check on some airplanes -- it definitely is. It's worth figuring out a way to do it, by yourself, once you know a particular airplane is difficult. It can save your butt. They make little buckets, and they travel well in the back and even give a place to store other small items. Memorize where to put the bucket. Won't help when the wind is blowing 30, or it's raining during pre-flight, but there's always a way in normal conditions.
Rust in the fuel pumps? Sounds like this plane was regularly full of water, not just this day. What say the Comanche owners? Is this plane a chronic water trap, or really hard to sump? I have been sumping various planes for over 1000 hours and have only encountered a tiny about of water just a very few times. All the airplanes I have flown other than mine, have lived outside 100% of their time on tie downs by the ocean and sometimes in the rain.