Why do some pilots experience slow motion stupidity ...

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Daleandee, Feb 11, 2021.

  1. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    ... and could it happen to me or you?

    Viewing the video on the Bryant crash makes clear what we all knew from the beginning, the pilot made a quick decision that was not the correct one.

    But I'm more amazed at seeing instances where things are clearly not working out over a longer period of time and yet the pilot continues until there is a crash that either injures or kills himself and/or his passengers. What is going on in the mind of highly trained pilots that look at a disaster unfolding in slow motion (time wise) and stay the course when they clearly had options available?

    I guess if we had the answer to this, prevention would be easy to realize.

    Here is a classic example:

     
  2. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    Complacence...probably.
     
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  3. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I suspect much of it has to do with personality and being goal driven.
     
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  4. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    It's entirely likely he performed that trick 100 times and got away with it. My understanding is those types of marine layers are nearly a daily occurrence.

    A lot of these seem to be normalization of deviance. Scud running, flying close to thunderstorms, stretching fuel, vfr into imc. You can get away with any of those things, right up until you don't.
     
  5. Country Flier

    Country Flier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think it's a case of, "it's working, right up until it isn't."

    Fortunately, I've never had this while flying, but when I was much younger, I had it once while driving. A friend and I were on a remote hunting trip in the upper peninsula of Michigan. We were hunting near Lake Superior, in November, and there was a lot of lake-effect snow on the ground. We decided to explore some new territory, and took a drive down a "road". The reason I put "road" in quotes is that unlike every other road we had been on during our hunting trip, this "road" had no tire tracks in the snow (this should have been a clue). We could tell that the ground under the snow was soft, yet we kept going, and going, and going...as things got worse and worse traction wise. We could have turned around at any time, but we didn't. Finally, we came to an abrupt unintended stop, with the front end of my truck somewhat under water/mud, and the rear end sticking up in the air. We were miles from the nearest road (without quotations). We had to walk for several hours back down our track, then flag someone down for a ride back to town. The tow truck driver made a fortune on us, and kept shaking his head while mumbling that we drove for miles through a bog. We never thought to turn around, because driving through the bog was working, right up until it wasn't.
     
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  6. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    A few days ago my mom recalled a trip from many years ago...she was a newly-minted Private Pilot, we were flying our Cherokee to Thunder Bay, Ontario for a convention.my older brother and I were going along, and my dad (Commercial, CFI, etc.) told her to plan and execute the trip. As we passed by Duluth, they discussed stopping for fuel, but Mom’s weather briefing indicated that we would be fine to continue.

    Heading up along the North Shore, clouds started lowering, and Mom basically said she maintained altitude and went into the clouds because that was the altitude she planned to fly, and the rocks below would be too close for comfort if we descended. She had a plan in her mind, and couldn’t make the shift away from it when continuing on course, and by that time we didn’t have enough fuel to return to Duluth.

    Dad ended up picking up an IFR clearance, but Mom has always said that we’d all be dead if it was entirely up to her. She got backed into a corner that she didn’t know how to get out of.

    I’ve seen that same lockup from professional pilots over the years as well...making a change from the original plan is difficult for some people. I’ve seen a pilot lock up when tower issued a go around in visual conditions because we were planning to land.
     
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  7. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I was thinking maybe even ego. Here this guy had been flying a basketball great, maybe he wanted Kobe to know how great of a pilot he was. Possible.
     
  8. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I suspect that’s a large part of it. I think the other was the fact that Kobe and his entourage were a large source of revenue for that operator. Cancel a flight on them and they risk losing him to a competitor who would fly the mission.
     
  9. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Unfortunately, we can't ask them. If it were possible, I would start with a few questions about whether the Billings Bo pilot had a plan B, how detailed/viable it was and whether he defined a set of hard metrics on when to execute it.
     
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  10. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pattern Altitude

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    Based on my own experience in professional aviation, this would be my guess exactly.
     
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  11. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    I just can't comprehend being around mountains and thinking "I'll just go a little lower because I can't see up this high".
     
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  12. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    I kept thinking he should have seen it sooner but I thought a real clue for a time to tune in plan B was given here:

    upload_2021-2-12_11-42-41.png

    Flying VFR through the mountains in the lowering clouds with rising terrain seems, to me at least, to be a great time to do a mental health assessment ...
     
  13. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I suspect the Kobe accident may be a different problem than the one that was the topic of the original post but yes, ego may have been part of it.

    Maule's post describes what I've seen as a repeated behavior from some pilots. Basically, they planned to go on the trip long before they launched and have every intention on executing the trip as they had planned. There could be weather, mechanical problems, personal problems, or all of the above and it doesn't matter, they're going. I know a few pilots local to me that have this trait. One of them has already wrecked one airplane and managed to survive but has not changed his ways at all (and has also had a few very similar flights to the linked video in the same area, just no accident). He is probably the worst one of the bunch and most likely will end up the subject of an NTSB report. It's just a matter of when the trip happens that too many things stack up against him.
     
  14. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    He apparently got about as low as flare height in some planes. Another few feet and he could have just taxi towards VMC.