What happens when you overload a small plane?


A tip o’ the hat to Daily Timewaster for the link.  The plane was apparently flying out of Bethel, Alaska, about a month ago, ferrying moose hunters.

Miss D. is an Alaskan pilot, as many of you already know. I’m waiting for her caustic remarks when she sees this video clip.  It’s obvious from the very shallow climb rate that the plane was way too heavy.  It basically flew straight into the trees because it couldn’t climb fast enough to get above them.  The occupants were very lucky indeed to walk away from that.



  1. I dimly recall that the taking off from water and taking off from runway use different tables and you should not confuse them…

  2. I'm wondering why the pilot didn't try a rudder only turn to stay over the water. That would have given him more time to assess his situation, and get a bit more altitude.

    However, the fact that he didn't give a crash warning to his passengers makes me think he has a problem with depth/distance perception. It appears that he didn't know he was crashing until the first tree impact. This type of disability can be more obvious when driving, as they have a constant problem of not slowing down soon enough as they approach stopped traffic, or empty intersections.

  3. There are any number of Very Lucky Pilots (with apologies to A.A. Milne) up here who have walked away from crashes that could have been much MUCH worse. And it's amazing how wise they come across when preaching safety … now, after the fact.

  4. It's not really clear from the video in doorway format-did they take the short path to the trees, or fly into the only hill nearby?

  5. Perhaps Miss D. had heard this version—

    The impact is some what more violent, and while none of the occupants sustain serious injury, they are momentarily stunned. The first one to come to looks around and says "Where the hell are we?" After a long pause, the guy next to him says "Looks like about 300 yards farther than last year."

  6. You know what you stop accidents like this?

    Strict licensing and careful mandatory classes for all pilots, especially for pilots flying passengers for pay.

    Special regulations for these pilots too, stricter than just recreational pilots.

    Aircraft will have to strictly licensed for commercial use and inspected regularly by specially trained and licensed mechanics!

    Then these sort of incidents will never happen!

    Oh wait…

  7. Angus, you had me right to the end. Just as I began to think "What a douchenozzle" I reached the end. Well-played, sir.

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