Pilot unresponsive; Plane circling over Gulf of Mexico

abc-7.com/story/17585126/pil … -of-mexico

Pilot unresponsive; Plane circling over Gulf of Mexico

Posted: Apr 19, 2012 8:44 AM PDT
Updated: Apr 19, 2012 8:44 AM PDT

A private plane is circling over the Gulf of Mexico and the pilot is “incapacitated,” and apparently unconscious.

NBC’s Pete Williams says authorities are tracking the plane and expect it to soon run out of fuel and crash into the water.

The U.S. Coast Guard is repositioning its assets, according to Williams, to try to help with a rescue.

There is no exact location for the plane yet, but CNN has been told it is closer to Florida than other Gulf states.

flightaware.com/live/flight/N48D … /KASD/KSRQ

Yep, I’ve been watching it too. Sad. As I was taking screen shots of the flight path – I watched as the plane icon “bleeped” off the screen.

*The planed disappeared from screen at 9:19 a.m. (Pacific)

Plane crashed in water close to florida coast



Very sad. :frowning: Wonder what happened? I read the F-15s reported iced over windshields. Possible cabin air problem? Passed out? :frowning:

421 to 35,000 - that’s quite a leap. (news reported)

Likely hypoxia due to cabin pressurization failure. Not the first time: aviation-safety.net/database/rec … 19991025-1


Is it normal for small twins to route over so much water? I realize it would save time and gas but…

I doubt that ac was RVSM’d. The airplane was flying itself by the time he entered RVSM airspace.
Also the flight plan said REDFN Q100 SRQ and the track on FA shows something other then that.
I assume that once reaching REDFIN the auto pilot went into a hold. The west track of his hold is due to the wids aloft.

Jason, why a hold at REDFIN? In a typical GPS like the 430/530 is this what happens when you get to the last point defined? Just goes in circles if it is in the nav mode? Never thought about that before.

Yep, see the Helios 737 accident: aviation-safety.net/database/rec … 20050814-0

Is it that hard for someone to make a Oxygen % detector gauge?

It’s not a lack of O2 it’s a lack of pressure.
If we had an explosive de-compress he wouldn’t have had very long to don mask. If he was in poor physical shape he would’ve reacted even worse to the de-compress the someone more healthy.

Heard of this hours ago, but hadn’t commented expecting more details to be out. TIME article states “the plane was fluctuating between 25,000 and 35,000 feet”.

There are some mentions (and even a photo) of the presumed pilot on some websites.

Thought I posted this yesterday.

Yes, thanks, pressure is the issue I realize.
In this case it is assumed it’s explosive decompression but with Helios I think it was progressive un-pressurization? As in it did not pressurize in the first place.

Can’t be that hard to have a gauge that displays correct cabin pressure vs actual?

In pressurized AC, there is a cabin differential gauge. There are also alarms when the cabin alt gets too high.
This was most likely an explosive decompress, he would’ve had plenty of time to don a mask or decend if it wasn’t.

I wait for a good NTSB report.

I looks like the had a disabling event> A heart attack, pulmonary embolism, cerebrovascular accident, etc. could have rendered him uncouncious or fainted. It looks the plane was very well stabilized since it hit the water in a rather flat mode …enough to stay a float for few minutes …so it was NOT a plunge. It could have been that the supplemental oxygen system malfunctioned and he got trapped.

Rare to see 421 taken so high in RVSM space. Normally 421s are for FLT levels 150 to 200 if equipped for that altitude and must be checked frequently for door seal problems, oxygen equipment problems, etc. Freezing temps also can create a lot of failures in engines and systems.

It looks like the autopilot was always engaged and the GPS Nav mode went into holding pattern or circles.

Sad situation.

First- 150 is not a flight level even over the gulf

Second the aircraft windows wouldn’t have frosted over because he had a heart attack etc.


There has been talk that the pilot was having severe financial issues… so who knows what really happened.