The last link: Dealing with the loss of a friend

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“Oh, $%*@# !….” Waking up to the news that he had lost another friend to an aviation accident was not a good way to start the day for Tom Bush (CDR, USN, ret.)

This latest tragic mishap claimed pilot number 21 in his own necrology of civilian and military pilots he had known over the years. Bush’s friend, former airport neighbor, and fellow Mooney driver had flown into trees in pre-dawn fog in Norfolk, Virginia, killing the pilot and two passengers onboard.

Bush’s aviation safety analysis training kicked in almost before the morning’s coffee, and he pored over weather charts, ATC tapes, and the Mooney’s flight path tracings toward his old Tidewater, Virginia, stomping grounds.

It began to look very much as if his friend’s accident was the last link in a distressingly long chain of questionable decisions. [Read more…]