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Posted by: Carol Y. ( )
Date: December 06, 2013 10:06PM

This is my theory, from reading articles on icing problems.

Up here in the inland Northwest it's common for late Fall and winter temperatures to plumment, starting around mid-afternoon, and on into the evening. He took off from Boise at about 3 P.M.

On a list of icing safety tips for small aircraft on a site called businessaircraftcenter.com, was the following information. Temperatures below 2 degrees Celcius will cause ice to begin building up on the plane. Even small particles the size of medium to coarse sandpaper can cause a 30% reduction in winglift, causing the engine to stall, surge, or flameout at altitude.

As he'd planned to fly to Butte, Montana, and then to Rexburg the same day, and then possibly back to Baker, Oregon, he would have had to go through this critical late in the day temperature drop.

As it was Sunday, he may have spent the morning in church. He was a seminary teacher, and may have had to set a good example. Then, he probably Sunday dinner with the entire family, pushing his take off time even later.

This is so tragic, and I am not condemning him for his decision. But it does seem that there are several factors coming into play here.

I wonder if they will even be found. The rescue operations have been suspended due to worse weather coming in.

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Posted by: saviorself ( )
Date: December 06, 2013 10:45PM

Since Smith resided in San Jose, California, my best guess is that he had limited, or maybe NO experience with flying his plane over mountainous terrain in winter weather. He didn't understand the problems/risks of such flying and he got in over his head. Sounds like he was a really good man. His untimely death is an unfortunate tragedy.

As the airplane wreckage gets buried in snow, then finding it becomes more difficult, perhaps impossible. It might be next summer before searching from the air will be possible.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2013 10:48PM by saviorself.

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Posted by: Senoritalamanita ( )
Date: December 06, 2013 11:18PM

A small correction about Dale Smith's "untimely death."

We still have hope that he and his passengers may be alive -- although as the days pass and the weather worsens, hope is dimming a bit.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2013 11:18PM by Senoritalamanita.

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Posted by: flyboy ( )
Date: December 06, 2013 11:11PM

He took off from Baker City and ran into trouble pretty fast near Johnson Creek.

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Posted by: utahmonomore ( )
Date: December 06, 2013 11:17PM

Who exactly is Dale Smith? Never heard of him.

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Posted by: Senoritalamanita ( )
Date: December 06, 2013 11:20PM

Dale Smith - LDS businessman from northern California. His daughter and her fiancé (BYU Idaho students) plus two others were on board. Plane lost over central Idaho after Thanksgiving. Still missing.


http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/frantic-search-tech-executive-dale-smith-vanished-flying-airplane-passengers-idaho-article-1.1536967



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2013 12:36AM by Senoritalamanita.

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Posted by: finalfrontier ( )
Date: December 06, 2013 11:48PM

Let me preface my comments by saying this: this would not be the first time a rich guy gets family killed in his own plane. It happens quite often in fact.

With that out of the way. Bonanzas are good aircraft. 'Icing trouble' would usually mean ice on the wings, which = really bad. But he reported engine trouble. Ice in the engine is an unlikely occurrence: if his engine was fuel injected, it couldn't have happened; it it was a carburetor engine, the carb heat system is nearly 100% reliable. That said, he could have forggoten to turn that on. The other possibility of ice would be iced up fuel lines. Part of the pre-flight check list of any plane is to check for water in the fuel lines. Maybe he skipped doing that.
Or it was just regular engine trouble, and had nothing to do with ice. That is a possibility. Engines fail. Pilots train for that.

Unless he was carrying survival gear, and managed to put down the plane softly, there is no chance of them being alive now.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: December 07, 2013 12:07AM

Couple of points. It takes more than cold temps to cause icing. Typically it also requires snow, sleet, or supercooled rain, though fog can sometimes cause icing.

Icing does decrease wing lift dramatically, but decreased lift in and of itself does not affect engine function. Ice can form in a carburetor, even without obvious icing conditions, but engines with carburetors have carb heat controls, which are nothing more than a baffle that directs intake air over the exhaust pipe to heat the air. A pilot should be well aware of when to try carb heat with a balky engine.

Ice in the fuel line can also cause engine trouble. The pilot of a small plane is supposed to stick a little needle gizmo into a valve on the bottom of each tank to both check for water, and drain any small amount of water that has gotten into the tank. If the pilot did most of his flying in CA, he may have gotten out of the habit of ever using carb heat. Even in CA, he should check for water in the fuel tanks, but who knows.

And there are a number of other things that can cause engine problems. Until the plane is found and an investigation done, speculation on the cause is just that, speculation. Blaming the crash on waiting until after lunch to leave seems like a big stretch to me.

Aircraft actually fly quite nicely in cold air - the engines produce more horsepower, and the wings produce more lift than in warmer air.

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Posted by: zenjamin ( )
Date: December 07, 2013 12:09AM

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N36ML/history/20131201/1915Z/KBKE/KSMN/tracklog

Data is not consistent with an airframe icing encounter



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2013 12:14AM by zenjamin.

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Posted by: d laursen ( )
Date: December 25, 2013 10:51PM

zenjamin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N36ML/history/2
> 0131201/1915Z/KBKE/KSMN/tracklog
>
> Data is not consistent with an airframe icing
> encounter


this aircraft was retro fitted with an allison turbine engine that burns jet fuel

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Posted by: zenjamin ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 12:23AM

So no airframe and no carb icing either.

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Posted by: travis ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 12:27AM

zenjamin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So no airframe and no carb icing either.


Carb ice not possible on that engine. You can get induction icing if the inlet heater on the engine were to fail.

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Posted by: travis ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 12:26AM

zenjamin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N36ML/history/2
> 0131201/1915Z/KBKE/KSMN/tracklog
>
> Data is not consistent with an airframe icing
> encounter

Wow, I didn't realize the A-36 Bonanza had a turbine conversion. That really reduces the odds of an engine failure. That said, the Caravan that recently went into the drink in Hawaii had a turbine engine. I was wondering how much fuel that acft had on board.

Being an experienced mountain pilot myself. I wondered if he had filed IFR or was sneaking around in the canyons low-level VFR like we've all done a time or two.

Tragic incident no matter what the cause was.

RIP all on aboard.

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Posted by: zenjamin ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 12:41AM

Was IFR.

Data was available on Flightaware under N36ML both radar track and performance data for the flight - but just checked and all of that data has disappeared.

Demonstrated stable airspeed/altitude - no decay of either - until a distinct point when there was steady airspeed and decent consistent with power loss.

Last radar hit was only a mile NE of Yellow Pine (3U2) 10,300.


Still feel a downer this one.

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Posted by: Quoth the Raven Nevermo ( )
Date: December 07, 2013 03:07AM

Small planes are a great way to kill off the whole family. Happened to a neighbor. Her sister, BIL, and two kids dead. When John Kennedy's plane went down his wife and her sister were killed.

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Posted by: Mnemonic ( )
Date: December 07, 2013 10:17AM

I had a coworker who was a pilot. He went out flying on a cold winters day. Even though he performed all the safety checks, he ran into trouble. Ice had formed in one of the two fuel lines so fuel wasn't feeding from one tank. He realized there was a problem but was unable to make it to the nearest airport before the tank feeding fuel went dry. He managed to set the plane down on a road and both him and the plane were fine. After he got some fuel the police blocked off the road and he was able to take off.

Because of the design of the fuel system on his plane the problem was impossible to detect in preflight. The two fuel lines came together in a 'Y' and any checks of the fuel system would not indicate that only one tank was feeding fuel.

Flying is an activity where there is little to no margin for error. Even if he did everything right there are things that can go wrong where there are few good options. I hope they are found soon.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: December 07, 2013 10:32AM

My father was a private pilot and it was always my dream as a little girl to go flying with him. However, my mother refused to let me do so. It made me feel very sad at the time, but as an adult I have a little more understanding as to her reasoning. She said if the plane went down, she didn't want to lose the both of us.

One of my brother's neighbors crashed his small plane upon landing and died of burn wounds a few weeks later. It was a slow, agonizing way for him to die.

Many years ago I was about to go up with a friend in a twin engine when one of the engines died and he aborted the flight.

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Posted by: finalfrontier ( )
Date: December 07, 2013 12:23PM

My comments in regards to the crash are above, but I want to make a couple of points in regards to aircraft safety.

Statistically speaking, small aircraft are much more dangerous than airliners. Airliners are insanely safe. Yet, statistically speaking, small aircraft are much safer than driving. You are more likely to die in a car crash on the way to the airport than in a flight. So, by statistics, small aircraft are safe.

Next point. Someone mentioned small margins of error in flying of aircraft. That is not very accurate. All aircraft are built with very large tolerance levels and all critical operations of the aircraft have redundant systems. It is hard to get into trouble if you are a competent pilot. The thing with flying is that it is very unforgiving of any error.

These days, aircraft are so safe, that the vast majority of accidents are pilot error. But now you are thinking, didn't he report engine trouble? Yes, but if it is found that there was indeed ice in the fuel lines, and it turns out he didn't drain the lines to check for water, and he didn't get a flight briefing to know wx conditions before the flight, the accident report will read: "the pilot's failure to conduct proper pre-flight check list items" or "the pilot's failure to obtain a weather briefing prior to flight into unfavorable weather."

Flying an aircraft is not an easy task. A lot goes into it and you better be on your A game 110% of the time. Poor sleep the night before, poor preparation, poor navigation, no experience in a (dangerous) new area to fly in, etc... all those things add up, and they are what cause accidents.

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Posted by: left4good ( )
Date: December 07, 2013 12:52PM

finalfrontier Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> statistically speaking, small aircraft are much safer than driving. You are more likely to die in a car crash on the way to the airport than in a flight. So, by statistics, small
> aircraft are safe.
>

As much as I enjoy flying, I have to say that's not correct.

I wish I could find it (I'm at work and can't right now...) but one of the most widely circulated flying magazines (Flying? AOPA's?) published an article just a few months ago using that statement ("You are more likely to die in a car crash on the way to the airport than in a flight") as a starting point.

It is absolutely true for major carriers, but it is not true for small general aviation aircraft.

There are 1.3 fatal accidents per 100,000 hours in general aviation planes.

There are 0.06 fatalities per estimated 100,000 hours of driving.

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Posted by: finalfrontier ( )
Date: December 07, 2013 03:38PM

I stand corrected then. Thanks for pointing that out.

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Posted by: Apollo Vacunador ( )
Date: December 17, 2013 11:12PM

I am so much disappointed about this and is there a confirmation he's dead. He was once in the Philippines and is a great leader. I do hope that Heavenly Father guide him and may if in any possible case be safe. No one knows. We love you Brother Dale Smith.

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Posted by: Carol Y. ( )
Date: December 18, 2013 02:25AM


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Posted by: Lono ( )
Date: December 18, 2013 03:03PM

Statistically speaking, flying small general aviation aircraft is about as dangerous as riding street motorcycles.

Engine troubles in a remote, mountainous area during extreme weather is a tough one. I personally do not like piston driven aircraft using 60 year old technology.

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Posted by: 440 ( )
Date: December 26, 2013 12:59AM

That's pretty shitty. Bad judgement on the pilots part. sad

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