Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

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sigi12345
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Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#1 Post by sigi12345 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:49 pm

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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#2 Post by Colinbwen10 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:53 pm

Mooney M20D (fixed gear), 180 hp Lycoming with an operating ceiling of 13,000 ft. If he was flying direct to Edmonton from Penticton (and it appears he was), he would be nuts to take such a route. Takes one over big remote terrain. (eg Columbia Icefields -- peaks top out at just under 13,000 feet and unpredictable weather in there in the winter or any time of the year for that matter.

RCAF JRCC has indicated that they have a cell phone ping off a tower near Revelstoke as well as a radar return in that area. Have not mentioned a ELT signal. This does not look good at all.

DIDNT FILE A FLIGHTPLAN (What!!!!!!).

I would have filed Penticton to the Cranbrook VOR (takes one north of Grand Forks, over Castlegar, Nelson and then into the Columbia Valley, then North up the Kootenay Valley, Sunshine Village, past Banff and then short stint over mountains and come out northwest of Calgary and then straight into Edmonton passing over Rocky Mountain House VOR.

This route avoids much of the big terrain plus you are near airports for a good portion of the flight. Plus I in winter I get up high and pick up flight following in case of a problem.

But the looks as of this fellow was flying like he was bullet proof. The terrain in and around Revelstoke where the plane supposedly went down is very rugged and remote. I would be very surprised if they find the plane.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#3 Post by godsrcrazy » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:11 am

I cannot find any news newer then 24 hours ago when the released the names. Are they still looking. Has this aircraft been found.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#4 Post by montado » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:53 am

godsrcrazy wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:11 am
I cannot find any news newer then 24 hours ago when the released the names. Are they still looking. Has this aircraft been found.
I'm also very surprised the lack of coverage, and also that this aircraft has not been found yet with all the leads they have (radar, cell tower ping). How much snow has been happening out that way? That could make it very challenging to find them.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#5 Post by rookiepilot » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:21 pm

Colinbwen10 wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:53 pm
Mooney M20D (fixed gear), 180 hp Lycoming with an operating ceiling of 13,000 ft. If he was flying direct to Edmonton from Penticton (and it appears he was), he would be nuts to take such a route. Takes one over big remote terrain. (eg Columbia Icefields -- peaks top out at just under 13,000 feet and unpredictable weather in there in the winter or any time of the year for that matter.

RCAF JRCC has indicated that they have a cell phone ping off a tower near Revelstoke as well as a radar return in that area. Have not mentioned a ELT signal. This does not look good at all.

DIDNT FILE A FLIGHTPLAN (What!!!!!!).

I would have filed Penticton to the Cranbrook VOR (takes one north of Grand Forks, over Castlegar, Nelson and then into the Columbia Valley, then North up the Kootenay Valley, Sunshine Village, past Banff and then short stint over mountains and come out northwest of Calgary and then straight into Edmonton passing over Rocky Mountain House VOR.

This route avoids much of the big terrain plus you are near airports for a good portion of the flight. Plus I in winter I get up high and pick up flight following in case of a problem.

But the looks as of this fellow was flying like he was bullet proof. The terrain in and around Revelstoke where the plane supposedly went down is very rugged and remote. I would be very surprised if they find the plane.

This isn't a troll, but I personally wouldn't do the flight at all, (and I've flown in that exact area) in that type of aircraft, based on the information provided, which allows risk factors to be Identified, and we can learn from.

1. Seasonal -- late fall. Adds risk by itself, in mountain areas.
2. Weather was obviously deteriorating-- SAR aircraft couldn't even fly (so likely wasn't CAVU for the missing aircraft)
3. Low performance AC, negative de ice
4. Takeoff time 230 pm. Huge. What time is darkness?
5. No spot device, or detailed flight routing given to FSS? (It would seem, or changes made)

And while we're on the subject, is there some reason simple risk management principles for PPL's can't be taught during the syllabus? Yes the herd will tell me it is taught. I say most do a piss poor job on this principle, somewhere between the teaching and the learning.

Weather knowledge too.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#6 Post by RatherBeFlying » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:27 pm

Class B starts at 12,500, but what were the winds aloft?

Having walked on the ice fields, a forced landing there could be a better deal than the steep terrain. Just bring a sleeping bag good to - 20C and watch your step lest you step into a crevasse.

This time of year I keep a sleeping bag in the back of my car.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#7 Post by cncpc » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:18 am

montado wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:53 am
godsrcrazy wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:11 am
I cannot find any news newer then 24 hours ago when the released the names. Are they still looking. Has this aircraft been found.
I'm also very surprised the lack of coverage, and also that this aircraft has not been found yet with all the leads they have (radar, cell tower ping). How much snow has been happening out that way? That could make it very challenging to find them.
I spoke with a very experienced local professional pilot at Revelstoke and he says that the weather was very poor for such a flight on that day and at that time. It seems like the projected last position is right beside the highway, but to get a radar hit in there, assuming it's squawking back to the Fly Hills radar site, you'd have to be pretty high. Have to agree with the poster who put in the option of crossing to Cranbrook, then up that valley, and on from there.

Anybody got METARS or the area forecast?
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#8 Post by cncpc » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:36 am

Does anybody else see three people in the back of this airplane?
mooney.png
mooney.png (436.5 KiB) Viewed 7750 times
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#9 Post by godsrcrazy » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:15 am

I see on the news this morning they are still searching.

Yes i see others in the back. I would imagine these are the children of the young lady in the picture. The news said she is the mother of 3. For the kids sake hopefully the searchers find their mom.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#10 Post by pdw » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:03 pm

It must be extremely frustrating for search and rescue workers not being able to locate this aircraft.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#11 Post by charrois » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:18 pm

With everyone else, I'm hoping for a good outcome on this.

Though definitely the consensus seems to be that he should have filed a flight plan, and that likely the weather played a huge factor, I'd like to chime in that the route he took wasn't necessarily terrible - at least, it wouldn't have been during day operations with good VFR visibility. I've flown it myself several times, some of which also in a Mooney of similar vintage, and it works well provided you're willing to make several small deviations from a direct routing.

From Penticton, fly up the Okanagan to Salmon Arm and Revelstoke, then the Rogers Pass to just north of Golden. I wouldn't do the Rogers pass necessarily in bad visibility as the valley is fairly narrow and the terrain on the sides is high, but in good weather, there's nothing at all wrong with it with the valley floor topping out at 4400'. From Golden there's a nice valley to follow to Saskatchewan River Crossing called the Blaeberry Pass, and from there it's a nice wide valley out of the mountains.

The great thing about this route is that with the exception of about 10-15 minutes through the Blaeberry Pass, there's a highway underneath you the whole way, and is a pretty direct route. So I wouldn't fault the pilot for choosing that route if the weather was conducive to it, or if he though the weather would be. Though of course if the weather turned nasty and he was stuck in the Rogers Pass at the time (which seems to be the case), it's definitely not a place I'd like to be. Particularly, a Mooney of that vintage has a pretty anemic climb rate at altitude, especially if it's loaded even close to gross.

I guess that if it turns out he knew the weather was bad, it certainly wasn't a great choice of route to go through the Rogers Pass. But if he had reason to believe the weather would be VFR with good visibility, it's a route that I, and I'm certain many people on here, would have chosen ourselves.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#12 Post by rookiepilot » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:26 pm

charrois wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:18 pm

- at least, it wouldn't have been during day operations with good VFR visibility.
Except the lack of both is everything IMO. 2:30 takeoff time in late fall....
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#13 Post by charrois » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:14 pm

Except the lack of both is everything IMO. 2:30 takeoff time in late fall....
The time was definitely a potential factor. It looks like sunset in the area was around 16:00, with civil twilight at 16:40, but I know how quickly it gets dark when the Sun goes down, especially in the mountains. He'd have about 240 nm to cover to get out of the mountains, and at the cruising speed of that Mooney (I assume around 135 kt, which is what the one I used to fly could reasonably handle), that would take 1:45, so if he left at 14:30, he'd look to be getting out of the mountains at 16:15. Before it is legally night, but after the Sun would have set. I can understand the decision process he might have gone through, figuring he'd be out of the mountains before dark, though of course it would be cutting it close. But with all that said, if he did end up in trouble near the Rogers Pass, it likely would have happened during daylight hours.

I don't consider the season to be a necessarily limiting factor - if it were, we wouldn't be able to fly in Canada for half the year. Of course, having warm survival gear is essential and I think it's a good idea to give yourself bigger margins in the winter.

The one thing I haven't heard about is the actual weather he encountered on route. I know that SAR was delayed due to poor weather after the fact, but I wonder if the forecasts for his time of flight were OK.

I guess all I'm saying is that though there were likely a lot of factors that contributed to this (as there always are), independently I can see where a pilot could make the decision to go on the route he did.... considering the individual factors. There's nothing wrong with the route if flown during the day and with good visibility and ceilings. And he would have likely figured that even considering his late-ish departure time he'd be out of the mountains before it got truly dark. It might be cutting it close for many of our comfort levels (I love night flying and mountain flying individually, but have no desire to combine the two), but if the weather was forecast to be OK, I can understand why he may have chosen to do the flight.

I also have no idea as to the pilot's level of experience. Everyone has different personal minimums and it's important for us to continually reevaluate what we should or shouldn't be doing. It can be particularly insidious when a lot of factors taken independently are within our comfort zone, but stacked together may surprise us. The regulations try to prevent us from doing things that really no pilot should be doing, but those cover worst-case situations; there is a lot of grey area outside of that in what people are comfortable with. I personally know experienced pilots who would never fly in a single engine aircraft at night thinking it is an unnecessary risk. Or others who think single engine IFR is a recipe for disaster. And then there are other pilots who routinely fly single engine ferry flights across the Atlantic in adverse conditions and just consider it another day at work.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#14 Post by rookiepilot » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:15 pm

charrois wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:14 pm
Except the lack of both is everything IMO. 2:30 takeoff time in late fall....
The time was definitely a potential factor. It looks like sunset in the area was around 16:00, with civil twilight at 16:40, but I know how quickly it gets dark when the Sun goes down, especially in the mountains. He'd have about 240 nm to cover to get out of the mountains, and at the cruising speed of that Mooney (I assume around 135 kt, which is what the one I used to fly could reasonably handle), that would take 1:45, so if he left at 14:30, he'd look to be getting out of the mountains at 16:15. Before it is legally night, but after the Sun would have set. I can understand the decision process he might have gone through, figuring he'd be out of the mountains before dark, though of course it would be cutting it close. But with all that said, if he did end up in trouble near the Rogers Pass, it likely would have happened during daylight hours.

I don't consider the season to be a necessarily limiting factor - if it were, we wouldn't be able to fly in Canada for half the year. Of course, having warm survival gear is essential and I think it's a good idea to give yourself bigger margins in the winter.

The one thing I haven't heard about is the actual weather he encountered on route. I know that SAR was delayed due to poor weather after the fact, but I wonder if the forecasts for his time of flight were OK.

I guess all I'm saying is that though there were likely a lot of factors that contributed to this (as there always are), independently I can see where a pilot could make the decision to go on the route he did.... considering the individual factors. There's nothing wrong with the route if flown during the day and with good visibility and ceilings. And he would have likely figured that even considering his late-ish departure time he'd be out of the mountains before it got truly dark. It might be cutting it close for many of our comfort levels (I love night flying and mountain flying individually, but have no desire to combine the two), but if the weather was forecast to be OK, I can understand why he may have chosen to do the flight.

I also have no idea as to the pilot's level of experience. Everyone has different personal minimums and it's important for us to continually reevaluate what we should or shouldn't be doing. It can be particularly insidious when a lot of factors taken independently are within our comfort zone, but stacked together may surprise us. The regulations try to prevent us from doing things that really no pilot should be doing, but those cover worst-case situations; there is a lot of grey area outside of that in what people are comfortable with. I personally know experienced pilots who would never fly in a single engine aircraft at night thinking it is an unnecessary risk. Or others who think single engine IFR is a recipe for disaster. And then there are other pilots who routinely fly single engine ferry flights across the Atlantic in adverse conditions and just consider it another day at work.
Yep, I'm with you. Night, mountains, SE IFR, crappy weather, all acceptable individual risks in my book. Its the combining that is an issue for me at least...---

I was taught always have a chicken out. I think when that is removed things can go bad.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#15 Post by pdw » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:14 pm

CNPC wrote: Anybody got metars?
IBritish484 wx-station at 7800ft-elev 85NM Northeast of Revelstoke (Mt Des Poilus)

Incorrect metar info deleted
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#16 Post by rookiepilot » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:07 pm

pdw wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:14 pm
CNPC wrote: Anybody got metars?
IBritish484 wx-station at 7800ft-elev 85NM Northeast of Revelstoke (Mt Des Poilus) 3:15pm Nov 27 12.4C/-15C 81%RH ... WSW 35kts-sust / gust 65kts.
So the pilots decision to take off had nothing to do with it? Ambushed by a totally random gust of wind?
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#17 Post by patter » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:28 pm

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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#18 Post by cncpc » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:21 pm

pdw wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:14 pm
CNPC wrote: Anybody got metars?
IBritish484 wx-station at 7800ft-elev 85NM Northeast of Revelstoke (Mt Des Poilus) 3:15pm Nov 27 12.4C/-15C 81%RH ... WSW 35kts-sust / gust 65kts.
Well, that would be a lot of trouble around there. Just wild. Not likely to be much different southwest of that site.

Thanks PDW.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#19 Post by cncpc » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:33 pm

Thanks. I see that low level jet on the 1800 forecast in the winds and turbulence. So I looked up LLJ to see how low low was.

This says 500 t0 5000 feet AGL. Kind of jives with the actual PDW provided.

Pretty grim.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#20 Post by rule911 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:17 am

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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#21 Post by mmm..bacon » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:55 am

rookiepilot wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:21 pm

And while we're on the subject, is there some reason simple risk management principles for PPL's can't be taught during the syllabus? Yes the herd will tell me it is taught. I say most do a piss poor job on this principle, somewhere between the teaching and the learning.

Weather knowledge too.
Thing is, you have to have a fair bit of flying or life experience to effectively teach risk management. (painting with broad strokes here) Most young flight instructors have neither...
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#22 Post by pdw » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:26 pm

rookiepilot wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:07 pm
So the pilots decision to take off had nothing to do with it?
EDIT (Dec 3rd):
Used the wrong day ... my mistake ( wow .. how did I not see that )

Nov 25 .. not 27th
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#23 Post by Diadem » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:07 pm

From the Castanet article: "'We have not searched east of Rogers Pass as there was no ping information with the Rogers Pass cellphone tower from the phone on board the plane. It did communicate with the Fidelity Mountain cell tower near the west boundary of Glacier Park,' she read from an update provided to the family." For anyone not familiar with the pass, it makes an S-turn, with the head of the pass at the middle of the S, and then turns north, so the route goes east, north a bit, east a bit, and then north again. If the vis was poor and the pilot was unfamiliar with the route, he could easily have missed one of those turns and continued up the wrong valley, in particular I'm thinking that first turn north towards the head of the pass. I've made the same mistake in snow before in a different location when it was hard to tell which road to follow, but I was lucky enough to turn back while I still could.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#24 Post by rookiepilot » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:35 pm

pdw wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:26 pm
rookiepilot wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:07 pm
So the pilots decision to take off had nothing to do with it?
I'm inclined to think you may be right on with that line of questioning on this. Figures out ... hey why not take advantage of a higher groundspeed (figures out 2 and 2 ... will get through there faster and way before dark). A 35-40-kts sustained in the mooney on the NE course to Edmonton .. if that component was predicted WSW/SW up there .... and if it's true no real experience in the mountains to fully grasp what exactly the risks are with the stronger numbers?
One of the primary things to learn and anyone will tell you, in a light, low performance aircraft, 40 -50 knot upper winds are really bad in the mountains.
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Re: Missing airplane on flight from Penticton to Edmonton

#25 Post by pdw » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:27 am

EDIT: My apologies to Cnpc .. RookiePilot .. and anyone else .. for the wrong date / wrong metar ... only 15kts
Diadem wrote:
Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:07 pm
If the vis was poor and the pilot was unfamiliar with the route, he could easily have missed one of those turns and continued up the wrong valley, in particular I'm thinking that first turn north towards the head of the pass.
That would be right past where the Trans Canada loops back on itself before heading north into the pass ....
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