A new “Real Pilot Story” video produced by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) Air Safety Institute chronicles the lessons learned from the harrowing experience of a California pilot, his wife and daughter during a seemingly routine flight that ended with a mountainside crash and rescue.
The VFR flight of N4640L, a Cessna 172 that departed Lodi, Calif., (1O3) on a May 2012 flight to Mountain Home, Idaho, (MUO) ended abruptly when lowering ceilings forced pilot Brian Brown into a canyon where his plane hit a 60° slope. Brown and his wife were injured in the crash, and his daughter was able to call 911, leading to a successful search and rescue mission in extreme conditions.
In the video, Brown describes the flight, acknowledges his misjudgments and offers useful lessons. A firefighter, he also recalls how his emergency response training proved invaluable, and that all pilots and their passengers should be prepared to spend a night or two surviving in the terrain they fly over.
“A mission-driven mindset made me to take some risks that I wouldn’t have normally taken,” Brown said. “And here I found myself just slowly and slowly and slowly convincing myself that this flight was safe enough to continue.”
Air Safety Institute (ASI) Real Pilot Stories offer detailed accounts of accidents or incidents in a pilot’s or passenger’s own voice – they tell what happened, why it happened and offer advice to help other pilots fly more safely.