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Miami flight school shuts down after fatal midair crash

“We can’t live with ourselves; the crash devastated us,” Robert Dean, the flight school’s owner told the Miami Herald Monday afternoon. ( More...

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Gary Eldridge 3
We're all guilty of flying off to a practice area and maneuvering without fear of colliding even though we scan the area first. Almost all aircraft have blind spots and sometimes it takes more than just takes communicating too. Prime this
Scott Wiggins 8
Life hurts! I'm in South Carolina, the new electronic road signs that I'm sure we paid billions for are reporting over 500 highway deaths so far this year, in South Carolina. Every year around 40,000 persons die in traffic accidents. Hundreds of thousands of people fall off roofs, ladders, crash while skiing, surfing, biking, mountain climbing, or falling on ice and meet serious injury and sometimes death. No one seems to think much about these things, but, but, but an airplane crash leads to endless handwringing, consternation and demands that something be done about it! Somewhere less than 500 fatalities occurred in all of general aviation in 2017. Many years there are zero fatalities in commercial air travel. Flying remains one of the safest activities in the world...and yet, airplane crashes bring out the legions of ambulance chasers, journalists, and officials. Safety is important but its not an absolute. We can't take all the risk out of flying unless we stop flying. Unfortunately, the FAA's relentless drive for zero accidents has nearly destroyed general aviation. The only real growth in general aviation is in business jets. We produced only a little over a thousand piston light planes in this country in 2017. We have lost half of our private pilots in the last twenty five years. Over-regulation and a feral legal industry have done their work well. Yes, I know that the light sport and homebuilts are thriving because they haven't been regulated to death and the lawyers can't get much traction when the plane is licensed as amateur built.
ratko vasic 4
Scott Wiggins, I agree with your post, just one thing here may be misleading. That is "Flying remains one of the safest activities in the world". That is absolutely true for commercial air transport, but for GA (general aviation) picture is little bit different. We are still far from calling flying safe. Comparing to traffic fatal accidents, where we have 40,000 per year, or 1 death in 2,500,000 hours of driving, GA have 500 deaths per year, or 1 in 50,000 flying hours. So, we are still 50x more likely to be involved in lethal accident flying than driving. FAA and NTSB are trying to do something about this, but that is a long battle and place for another topic.
JW Wilson 2
Ratko, you're tight about the numbers, but give me a Cessna over a road car everyday and I'll be happy. I have long maintained that this is an apples to oranges comparison. There are far too many "outside" forces weighing in on aviation as opposed to ground based transportation.
Atanu Dey 1
Scott Wiggins, I could not agree more with your viewpoint and analysis. Thanks.
Karl Schneider -2
Human life is a terminal, sexually transmitted condition.
patrick baker 6
i got all my licenses from flight schools at the new tamiami airport, since renamed. Plenty of uncrowded sky west of the airport, and this is just silliness here shutting down operations, plenty of tears and remorse, and his 15 minutes of fame and television coverage. Sit down, take a deep breath, stand up, go schedule the next dual training which the owner of the company would administer, fly, land and go do it again. really..... And having many students ought to mean the company would survive, despite the antics of the owner....
C J 6
6 accidents, 6 fatalities, more than 2 dozen incidents. Probably a good choice to shut down.
Graeme Smith 5
By no means their first incident.
joel wiley 1
From the article: “We had already planned to downsize because the embassies have stopped giving visas to students,..." sounds like their business model had to do with mining the embassy resources.
ken young 1
Yes, it does appear the company was dependent upon foreign students to fill its coffers.
Something seems "off" with this.
It's a shame. I learned to fly and got my commercial, instrument, & cfi at a completely uncontrolled airport long before CTAF. It was common to have a dozen planes in the pattern. Never had a midair. I think there's too much looking down at tablets and not enough out the windows these days and pilots are button pushers, not airmen. Bah.
Bryan Jensen 6
I am a flight instructor since 1971 and have been very concerned about safety since the advent of the "glass cockpit". I think it encourages more eyes inside activity than standard instrumentation.. I am also offended at the term "steam gauges". Most people I know who use it are very arrogant. I did FITS TAA Training in 2008 with a Garmin 1000 equipped Cessna Skyhawk and received a certificate of completion, so my concern is not based in ignorance.
James Derry 5
I’m afraid you are right. We have a rule, that if one is writing, looking at a chart, briefing, the other MUST fly, including looking out the window! But the number of times I see both pilots “inside” is astounding. Companies are to blame. I recently flew for a company that wanted a text message just before take off and just after landing. With fuel, ETA, actual landing, fuel remaining, etc. I just said no, but most in this company are texting the damn messages while taxi-Ing out! Or just after landing. IMO both pilots should be focusing on what is happening in their cockpit, not satisfying some dispatcher! Same during climb out, they grab the plog and start writing ETAs, noting take-off times while the other guy has his nose in the FMS! No one looking outside!
Had this happen one night on a take-off in to pitch black. FP pushes NAV, VS, sets ALT and starts to write. Never pushed AP though. So I’m watching this and asked if he was going to return and land (as we were now in a 20 dégrée bank and descending) WHAT’S IT DOING???
I think you should fly your airplane.
After he started flying manually, I said “you set things up, but never selected autopilot on.”
This cured him of a bad habit, I must say. Focus on the flying, not the paperwork or the iPads or FMS !!!!
WhiteKnight77 5
Sometimes people have to learn the hard way. Unfortunately, in aviation, learning the hard way can be way too late. He got lucky in that you were there to "wake him up."
Bryan Jensen 5
I love that time worn poster showing a biplane perched in a tree with the caption "to an even greater extent than the sea, aviation is very unforgiving of carelessness, error, and neglect".
Bryan Jensen 6
Another good one I heard from a fellow instructor "maintain thy airspeed, lest the earth rise up and smite thee".
Now that all the How's and Why's have been exhausted and the Next of Kin notified, are we able to read of names and ages of the aviators. Just wondering if condolences are required ?
Dave Mathes 1
......"when I'm underground and dead" ......I don't think I would have used that analogy with the students. Glass cockpit or not, windows are there for a reason...
In the old days you developed rubber necks from viewing the skies 360 degrees. They still have clear plastic windows ?
The Everglades claimed a mid-air collision back in the 1980s. Low wing aircraft hit top of Cessna 182, sending it to earth. Maybe two fatalities resulted.
dardav -3
sounds like this company has been on autopilot, who is flying these planes....
i know these planes have no radar but do pilots utilize flight radar 24 or other apps to keep an eye on traffic?
No connected apps when you’re flying! It’s actuality illegal to use phones or connected devices in flight, doesn’t matter if it’s an airliner or your own plane. Actually the rules for ‘visual’ flight are see and be seen, similar to driving but in two dimensions. Pilots in visual conditions must always be looking around. More sophisticated aircraft that are so equipped can get satellite data, it’s called ADS-B ‘in’ that shows similarly equipped aircraft on a display.
if its illegal to use something which can aid a pilot (having a phone mounted like a dash cam) as air traffic grows seems to be idiotic.
Either the a/c should have radar or be able to use other widely available and cheaper hardware to be safe in the skies.
The FAA has its reasons but at the heart of It, it’s a matter of cost. Radar is out of the question for the vast majority of light aircraft due to cost, that’s the way it is. ADS-B is a viable alternative but is perhaps costly for ‘out’ (which is required as of January 1, 2020) and ‘in’ (which is optional). An ‘in/out’ Installation can easily start at $6000 and when compared to the value of a typical Cessna 150 or similar aircraft would be 25% of the value of the aircraft... it just not going to happen. The point is that the system has been built quite successfully on see and avoid. There are numerous rules in place for visual flight rules aircraft to safely navigate as is proven by the record of some 80 or 90 years at this point. Accidents do happen but it is encumbant upon us all using the system to adhere to the rules and keep a sharp watch.
WhiteKnight77 3
As former air crew flying helos in SoCal where the skies are crowded with both commercial and general aviation, we were always on the look out for traffic, even just flying the pattern. Even though our airspace extended 2 blocks from the fence line of our base, and was marked with big yellow letters on the roof of a building, it was always encroached upon. I cannot tell you how many times we had to take evasive action even when staying inside the fence line due to pilots from John Wayne International Airport actually entering our airspace and being near the base's fence.

The role eyes play in flying cannot be overlooked. The Mark I Mod. One eyeball should not be overlooked no matter how much sophisticated gear is on the plane that warns of other aircraft in the vicinity.
El Toro or Tustin?
WhiteKnight77 1
Tustin, but flew GCAs into El Toro quite a few times. Having to keep an eye out for suck and blows was interesting while flying the pattern there as well.
Per Molund 1
ken young -1
4 young people perish in a freak accident and all these others can think of is "money".
Maybe it's time to include an eye test with an ophthalmologist seeing no one is aware of a moving object near them in the sky.
Graeme Smith 1
But the item you will collide with is on a constant bearing and has no relative movement. That's what make See and Avoid so hard.

A URI professor actually worked out that the geese that took down the Miracle on the Hudson never saw the plane coming. It was on a collision course and so no movement against the background, was lost in the view of the ground which appeared as "clutter" to them. The geese had no chance. (They also had right of way.... :-) )
Make the training more advanced.
Foxtrot789 5
They're already struggling with the basics...


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