Sparky Imeson crash & search

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Dave Krall CFII, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII En-Route

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  2. mikea

    mikea Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Wow! Judy was in touch with Sparky to join a CFIcast!

    If it can happen to him, there's little hope for the rest of us
     
  3. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    the fact that he knows what he's doing in the mountains likely played heavily into the fact that they are still alive. will be interesting to find out what the cause is.
     
  4. judypilot

    judypilot Line Up and Wait

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    The main point of this is they survived. I used to hang out with an old bush pilot in Alaska. That guy was flying long enough (and before planes became so reliable) that he had survived a number of crashes, and that's the operative word: survive. If you know what you're doing, it's amazing what you can walk away from.

    I will be very interested to hear all the details, but that's my take-away message. I'm particularly interested to learn why he walked away from the airplane. I'm sure he had a very good reason. If I find out more, I'll let you know.

    Judy
     
  5. gprellwitz

    gprellwitz Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, the fact that he left the plane is very surprising to me. It would up costing him 4 hours before rescue. I wonder if he left an indication of his direction of travel when he left the plane.

    Very glad he and the other pilot made it!
     
  6. judypilot

    judypilot Line Up and Wait

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    Well, if the news accounts are right, he was headed downstream, which is exactly what you should do. That's basic wilderness survival. It accomplishes several things: gets you to lower (warmer, usually, though not always), gives you a definite path, and has a much higher chance of taking you (eventually) to civilization. But unless you've got a PLB, in the case of a crash, it's better to stay with the airplane.

    My guess is he knew exactly where he was and had someplace definite he was heading towards to get help. One thing about search and rescue: if your ELT isn't working for some reason, it could be a long, long time before anyone spots you. If you wait and THEN decide to walk, you're that much weaker, hungrier, and dehydrated. If you have some reason at all to think the plane won't be found, and you know where you can get help with some walking, walking might, in fact, be the better option.

    We'll see.

    Judy
     
  7. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII En-Route

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    I'll also speculate that since his student was fairly badly injured, he knew exactly where they'd crashed & burned the Husky, and their flight plan was filed, he quite reasonably thought it a more productive risk to start walking downstream.
     
  8. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    They (the pilots of the plane) are saying they got caught in a severe downdraft:

    http://www.helenair.com/articles/2007/06/05/helena_top/00aadown.txt
     
  9. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    that would do it
     
  10. JohnR

    JohnR Final Approach

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    Glad they're ok. Sparky's a living legend.
     
  11. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII En-Route

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    If so, wouldn't that dispell the old wive's tale that the down draft will spread out near ground effect level, thereby letting the pilot climb the aircraft out of danger and also prove that inertial forces of an aircraft's mass can be more than the climb power available to counteract the hurling forces of an extreme downdraft?
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2007
  12. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    theres a reason that its an old wives tale dave...
     
  13. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII En-Route

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    I think it's probably the limited magnitude of drafts that certain pilots have experience with that forms their opinions in many cases.
     
  14. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    i agree, the OWT comes from taking off in a 150 and hitting a small downdraft on a good thermalling day. microburst is a tad different. I suspect this crash was probably caused by strong downslope winds. totally different
     
  15. N801BH

    N801BH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Re: Sparky Imeson crash & search, Again !!!!

    Force joins search for missing Helena airplane and pilot
    BY MARTIN J. KIDSTON
    Independent Record

    UPDATED 1:45 p.m.
    A search and rescue crew from Malmstrom Air Force Base arrived in Helena shortly after noon today to join the hunt for a missing Helena pilot and his plane.

    Sparky Imeson's Cessna 180 disappeared from radar in rugged terrain roughly 18 miles northwest of Bozeman around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

    Search crews with the Montana Department of Transportation's aeronautics division spent this morning searching the east slope of the Elkhorn Mountains, where a cellular tower picked up a signal from Imeson's phone shortly after the plane dropped off Bozeman radar.

    "For the phone to receive that call, he'd have to be in that general location," said Mike Rogan, aviation support officer for MDT. "It was the closest tower. Someone tried to call him, but no one answered." Rogan, along with Jeanne MacPherson, the bureau chief coordinator for MDT, went out Tuesday night after getting word of the plane's disappearance.

    The department's search plane is specially equipped to spot an Emergency Locator Transmitter, or ELT, which acti-vates when an aircraft goes down.

    "We went out immediately and did a route search," MacPherson said. "We went to Bozeman, landed, and flew the route back."

    MDT launched several aircraft early this morning hoping good visibility would reveal the aircraft.

    Rogan said the search is being concentrated on the east slope of the Elkhorn Mountains, in particular, a deep drainage cut by Beaver Creek.

    Rogan and Ken Wilhelm, an air mechanic with MDT, flew one of this morning's missions. Other aircraft from Bozeman joined the hunt.

    "You're looking for an airplane that could be in the trees," Wilhelm said. "It's all snow in here. You've got standing lodgepole trees. You've got downed trees. You've got short trees. Anything that looks straight on the ground, you look at it again, and you see two trees lying at 90 degrees."

    The aeronautics division is a busy yet somber place today. Most of the searchers know Imeson. They notified both Lewis and Clark and Broadwater county sheriff offices of the pilot's disappearance.

    MacPherson said Imeson had not filed a flight plan before leaving Bozeman on Tuesday afternoon. Montana pilots only need to do so if traveling more than 250 nautical miles.

    But radar suggests that Imeson was flying a direct route between Bozeman and Helena, one that would have taken him over the Horseshoe Hills near the south end of the Big Belt Mountains.
    [​IMG]
    Flywriter Posts: 108 Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:36 pm Location: Palo Cedro, CA Top
    Re: Looks Like Sparky is Missing
     
  16. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Ah, man, thanks for telling us about this. I've got my fingers crossed for him--he's a legend of an instructor.
     
  17. wby0nder

    wby0nder Cleared for Takeoff

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    I haven't even read the news accounts yet. Only read the posts. I'd bet we're talking about another in a long series of wave and rotor induced "downdraft" crashes.

    Read Exploring the Monster by Bob Whelan.
     
  18. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Re: Sparky Imeson crash & search, Again !!!!

    Huh??? :dunno:

    Oh well, at least they didn't say he ejected the wings...
     
  19. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII En-Route

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    Re: Sparky Imeson crash & search, Again !!!!

    He probably had a private flight plan filed, as opposed to one with Lockmart...
     
  20. alaskaflyer

    alaskaflyer Final Approach

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    Re: Sparky Imeson crash & search, Again !!!!

    Not to jack the thread, but Google Montana Code Annotated 67-3-212.

    Montana is a special place for GA in many ways and they certainly do some things differently there under the Aeronautics division. Most of them positive.
     
  21. KennyFlys

    KennyFlys Guest

    Re: Sparky Imeson crash & search, Again !!!!

    Here ya go...

     
  22. alaskaflyer

    alaskaflyer Final Approach

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    Re: Sparky Imeson crash & search, Again !!!!

    Thanks. No cut and paste on the iPhone (yet) :redface:

    And before someone complains about how FAA jurisdiction is supposed to preempt those types of state regs, you should reflect on the VFR flight plan, what its purpose is, and what entity is responsible for the ultimate realization of that purpose in Montana.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2009
  23. KennyFlys

    KennyFlys Guest

    In some areas, Navy, Marine Corps or Air Force SAR teams are called out. But, usually it's local and/or state authorities who carry the torch.
     
  24. alaskaflyer

    alaskaflyer Final Approach

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    But for civilian aircraft lost over land those are either state-controlled national guard units or are responding under written agreements with the state.
     
  25. KennyFlys

    KennyFlys Guest

    I'm not sure how they were handled at Whidbey Island. I worked at the nuke loading school and the SAR squadron was on the other side of the same hangar. The SAR helos there went out many times to make rescues.

    In one case, the mission was to recover two hikers who were stranded on a ledge in the Cascade Mountains. The hikers were in over their head and other lives were put at risk to save them. Unfortunately, in an attempt to get a cable to the hikers, the helo's blade clipped the side of the cliff. All but one of the crew was lost, including the childhood friend of my barracks roommate.

    I'm not sure many understand the risks taken on in performing rescue attempts. Considering the terrain in much of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, I doubt it's no easier where he went down.
     
  26. flyersfan31

    flyersfan31 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Jeez i thought this was a weird thread resurrection.

    Not again. I hope they find him quickly.

    I just ordered his Mtn Flying Bible.
     
  27. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I got to know Sparky through the 180 group, have an autographed copy that he sent me a few years back. Coincidentally, I've been reading it again in prep for the summer back-country flying events. Hope he can pulll another rabbit out of the hat.

     
  28. Trapper John

    Trapper John Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Yes! Fingers crossed here...


    Trapper John
     
  29. N801BH

    N801BH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The bizzarre is starting to show up.. I first saw the report of him missing on the backcountrypilots site.. about 10 posts in a guy wrote that he did some really strange stuff a few days earlier,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    >I believe he was VFR from BZN-HLN. Very odd circumstances as he >almost killed
    >himself Sunday. He was IFR and requested a block altitude of FL200->FL240,
    >said he was testing something on his engine. He got hypoxic and was >basically
    >incoherentand drifting all over the countryside until we got him down >around
    >15,000 and then he landed here at BIL. He claims not to remember the >last
    >hour of his flight. Me thinks there's more to the story. As for the lost
    >radar return it said they lost him about 18 or so miles north of Bozeman. >To
    >me that's not unexpected as that's about where you would go into the >mountains
    >and I wouldn't expect the Bozeman radar site to be able to see you very >far to
    >the north.

    >Scott

    Now here's the flightaware track of that flight,,, it is soooo strange, and who would have thought a 180 could go that high ???

    http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N2698Y


    Comments ??
     
  30. flyersfan31

    flyersfan31 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Don't know what to say. Just hope he's safe.
     
  31. ApacheBob

    ApacheBob Cleared for Takeoff

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    I ordered his book a while back. There was quite a bit of detail in the book. I have to say, the idea of flying in mountains intimidates me.
    After Fossett's disappearance, here is another incident. This is a bad situation. It does not look good.
    ApacheBob
     
  32. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I mentioned this the other day, and I feel bad saying it, but I am curious:

    How can someone be a mountain flying expert if he can't stop crashing in the mountains?
     
  33. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Where should he crash?
     
  34. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    Searchers looking in area of possible plane sighting

    By MARTIN J. KIDSTON Independent Record
    Search and rescue crews looking for a missing pilot and his plane received a lead from an area rancher on Wednesday, saying it was a possible sighting that fit the time and place in which the plane disappeared.

    ``We have a lead,'' Jeannie MacPherson, coordinator for the state Department of Aeronautics, said Thursday morning. ``It's a good lead.''

    MacPherson said members of Broadwater County Sheriff's Department were going door to door, talking with rural ranchers in hopes of gaining new information.

    One Broadwater Country rancher, she said, described seeing a white plane with blue striping disappear in Beaver Creek on Tuesday afternoon.

    The creek cuts a tight, deep canyon on the east slope of the Elkhorn Mountains not far from Townsend.

    The rancher's description, MacPherson said, fits that of the Cessna 180 piloted by Sparky Imeson.

    Imeson took off from the Bozeman airport on Tuesday but dropped off radar at around 2:30 p.m., prompting a search that continued Thursday morning.``It's really tight in there, and we're only having our own limited assets in there,'' said MacPherson. ``We have the two helicopters to help us again. Because of the narrowness of the canyon, it's hard to see the plane.''

    Once the plane is spotted, MacPherson said, the search and rescue, or recovery mission, would fall into the hands of the Broadwater County Sheriff.

    Sheriff Brenda Ludwig said that until then, information will continue to come from the state aeronautics' division.

    ``We had a sighting that fit the general time,'' said Ludwig. ``How we do a search and rescue mission will just depend on where the plane is.''

    Click here and here and here for links back to those stories.

    Reporter Martin Kidston: 447-4086 or mkidston@helenair.com
    Flywriter is online now Report Post Reply With Quote
     
  35. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route

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    Sh** happens.

    We all accept that risk every time we get out of bed in the morning.

    -Skip
     
  36. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Anyone know if CAP is active in MT?

    Would seem to be an ideal place for the CAP mission...
     
  37. alaskaflyer

    alaskaflyer Final Approach

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    There is a wing and squadrons in Mt. Under state law the state division of aeronautics coordinates searches for missing civilian aircraft, and they have state-owned aircraft outfitted with equipment similar to CAP's for that purpose. It wouldn't be hard to imagine that they are part of the search, flying under the press radar because the DoA is the lead agency.
     
  38. Anthony

    Anthony Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Totally agree Skip. However, when one plays in the mountains, real mountains in a low powered, normally aspirated airplane, the risks are greater. Sometimes technique, even the best technique can't get you out of some situations mountain flying can throw at you. That's why I would postpone my flights in and through the Rockies if conditions weren't perfect for it.
     
  39. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route

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    I fully agree. But even if conditions are perfect, you can swallow a valve with no prior warning and suddenly be unable to outclimb that box canyon.

    We have no idea what happened to Sparky, and I too am hoping for the best. But all the mountain experience in the world may not help if/when your plane craps out unexpectedly. I was responding to Nick's query: How could this happen?

    -Skip
     
  40. Bob Bement

    Bob Bement Pattern Altitude

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    I have heard that it doesn't help to have survival equipment just in your plane. It has to be on you. I guess this would be a good example. It sounds like they just barely got out and the plane burned. I am thinking of getting a vest made for my compass, signaling mirror, and things like that. Bob