Scott Crossfield - N6579X


Scott Crossfields Cessna 210 went missing on a flight to Virginia yesterday. They are still looking for the aircraft and have not announced if Mr. Crossfield was at the controls.

All indications at this point are that he was flying the aircraft. :cry:


See current CNN Story HERE.


Looks like significant altitude excursions began around 11:09 AM. He slowed from a ground speed of 158 kts to 96 kts and turned south east.
Was there a front passing thru yesterday morning? Slowing to manuevering speed (or below) is common when encountering severe turbulance.

11:07AM -84.75 34.47 158 11000
11:08AM -84.72 34.48 158 11000
11:09AM -84.67 34.53 158 11600
11:10AM -84.65 34.53 96 11500
11:11AM -84.62 34.55 96 11000
11:12AM -84.58 34.57 96 11000
11:13AM -84.58 34.57 96 11000 (last real return?)

There’s a series of delayed returns starting again at 11:44 AM but these all return the same position. Maybe some type of computer data hold?

11:44AM -84.42 34.50 96 11000

11:47AM -84.42 34.50 96 11000


Here is the aircraft in question, if anyone is interested.


May he rest in peace


You can safely ignore the ones at the end where the position does not change.


NASA just issued a press release:

April 20, 2006

David Mould/Bob Jacobs
Headquarters, Washington
(202) 358-1400/1600

RELEASE: 06-191


The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Michael Griffin
on the tragic death of famed test pilot Albert Scott Crossfield.

“Scott Crossfield was a true pioneer whose daring X-15 flights helped
pave the way for the space shuttle. NASA remembers Scott not only as
one of the greatest pilots who ever flew, but as an expert
aeronautical engineer, aerodynamicist, and designer who made
significant contributions to the design and development of the X-15
research aircraft and to systems test, reliability engineering, and
quality assurance for the Apollo command and service modules and
Saturn V second stage. Today, those of us in the aeronautics and
space communities extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to
Scott’s family.”

Crossfield made aeronautical history in 1953 when he reached a speed
of more than 1,320 mph, or Mach 2, in a Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket.
He played an important role in the agency’s highly successful X-15
research aircraft program in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He flew
most of the early experimental X-series research aircraft for NASA’s
predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

In 1993, Crossfield was honored with the NASA Distinguished Public
Service Medal for his contributions to aeronautics research and
development over his historic 50 year career.

For additional information about Crossfield and his contributions to
aeronautics visit,


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Very sad to hear. Rest in peace and God bless



From AVweb NewsWire: (Note plug for FlightAware)

Witness: Crossfield’s Plane "Hit By Lightning"
It should not be taken as fact – eyewitness reports are rarely as accurate as the term suggests – but one man who lives a few hundred yards from where the main wreckage of test pilot Scott Crossfield’s 1960 Cessna 210 crashed last Wednesday said he saw the plane get hit by lightning just before it went down in mountains. “The plane just lit up, and then it went up a couple thousand feet and wheeled around,” Gene Stone, 66, who lives near the border of Gordon and Pickens counties, about 70 miles north of Atlanta, told Cox News Services. “I thought it was heading back to the Gordon County airport, but then it sounded like the engine just cut off, and it went over the top of the pines as fast as it could.”

A vicious thunderstorm, with reports of hail as large as golf balls, was reported in the area. Weather at Dalton, GA (DNN) near the route of flight was: wind 120 at 12, gusts to 24; visibility 3/4 statute miles in thundershowers; clouds broken at 400, overcast at 1500 feet. Crossfield had filed IFR out of Prattville, AL (1A9) for Manassas, VA (HEF). The flight plan was for 11,000 feet at 148 kts. Crossfield left Pratville, Ala., about 9 a.m. and dropped off radar screens about 11:14 a.m. Crossfield’s last radio transmission was a request to divert south of his intended flight path to avoid weather. According to FlightAware’s depiction of his track (free subscription required), he went down just after making the southward turn. FlightAware’s data tracking functionreports that the aircraft’s speed dropped to 96 mph before radar contact was lost. The FAA’s preliminary report on the crash notes thunderstorms were in the area with wind gusts up to 24 knots. Crossfield’s body was found in the wreckage about 12:30 p.m. on Thursday in a wooded ravine about six miles east of Ranger, Ga. Scott Crossfield was 84.


Users can’t view this track log at this point, correct?


Yes, users can. Click on the link in BTaylor’s posting.


I’d already tried that. Trying to view the log for that flight instead takes me back to the main flight page for that plane.


Click on the line that shows the last flight. It’s the first one in the list. Here’s the direct link: … Z/1A9/KHEF


Yes, that’s the same link. No log there.

#15 … F/tracklog gives

Live Flight Track Log (N6579X)

    * Live > N6579X Flight Status
    * Flight > N6579X > 19-Apr-2006 > 1A9-KHEF

All times are in Pacific time to prevent timezone crossing confusion. See flight status page for local times.

No data current available.


Misunderstood the request. It said “log.” I saw the map and thought that was what he wanted.


The preliminary accident report is out:

“The wreckage distribution was consistent with a low altitude in-flight breakup.”



This fateful flight is the subject of the January 2008 issue of Flying magazine’s “Aftermath” column. The NTSB cited the controller’s failure to advise the pilot of the pertinent weather, its location and intensity - as well as the pilot’s failure to obtain updated en route weather information… as the Probable Cause.

The column quotes a passage from Crossfield’s autobiography (Always Another Dawn - circa 1960s):

[quote=“Scott Crossfield”]Not once since [a particular incident], either on land or in the air, have I ever turned back from any course that I set upon, no matter how dark the clouds that lay ahead.

Hmmmmm… :confused:


Scott Crossfield wrote:
Not once since [a particular incident], either on land or in the air, have I ever turned back from any course that I set upon, no matter how dark the clouds that lay ahead.

Good philosophy for life, not such a good operating procedure when flying.


I appreciate reading comments on this site and am particularly interested in learning more about accidents. I have a selfish interest in not becoming a statistic, and have pondered this one quite a bit.

The NTSB report, indicates that the aircraft was equipped with a strikefinder, but does not mention whether the aircraft was equipped with radar. (Although the pilot also had an XM account, his aircraft records did not indicate installation of the XM antenna. The NTSB report is silent as to whether the pilot had a handheld GPS on board with satellite downlink weather capability.)

The area forecast the pilot had received with his DUATS briefing prior to departure just called for isolated, although possibly severe, thunderstorms, and I presume he felt comfortable using the strikefinder for avoidance.

The pilot took off before the convective sigmet for embedded thunderstorms was issued. It is not clear whether the pilot could have known about the sigmet. Although the NTSB report said he did not query ATC for a weather update, he may have monitored flightwatch or some other source that may have broadcast it. But, we don’t know.

My understanding is that one should not use spherics or satellite downlink weather to pick through embedded thunderstorms, and that these systems are meant to be used for avoidance only. But, given the preflight briefing of isolated thunderstorms, it does not seem unreasonable for an experienced pilot to proceed without onboard radar. Also, the NTSB report is consistent with the pilot using the strikefinder for avoidance.

The report said that lightning strikes were recorded 15SM from the acccident site but none within 5SM. They were clustered north of his flight path. If the pilot was monitoring the strikefinder, this may have been why he requested the deviation to the south for weather. This is consistent with the pilot deviating course away from the T-storms once he saw strikes within 20 miles. I thought 20 miles was supposed to be a good rule of thumb for t-storm avoidance.

Yes, he could have sought a weather update while enroute. But, it still seems from this report, and to my limited experience, that the pilot operated reasonably given his preflight briefing and onboard equipment.