Plane kills beach jogger listening to his iPod

You know how they say “When it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go”? Well, I can’t help but feel that a hell of a lot of people’s “time to go” might be extended if a couple of these bored ass-wipes stopped trying to fly their experimental planes.

From The Associated Press

A 38-year-old jogger from Georgia is dead after a single-engine plane making an emergency landing hit him as he ran on a South Carolina beach listening to his iPod.

The coroner said Tuesday that Robert Gary Jones of Woodstock, Ga., apparently did not hear the troubled plane that struck him from behind on Hilton Head Island The plane had lost its propeller and the pilot’s vision was blocked by oil on the windshield.

Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen says he plans to conduct an autopsy. He says Jones was married and had two children.

Hilton Head fire and rescue spokeswoman Joheida Fister says the identities of the pilot and a passenger on the Experimental Lancair IV-P plane were not released. They were not injured.

I was going to make some lame joke about “this is exactly why I don’t jog”, but the man had two small kids (as do I), so it’s kind of a sad story that hits close to home. Besides, the real reason I stopped jogging is because I was almost killed by a totally unafraid, 50-horned male deer early one morning, and there is no way I want my kids to remember me as the guy who got killed by a deer.

Thanks to faithful Macenstein reader Jonro for the tip!

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Comments
10 Responses to “Plane kills beach jogger listening to his iPod”
  1. Andy Lartigue says:

    Love how they mention that the jogger did not hear the plane because of an iPod. What noise would it make if the engine was dead or propeller was gone? I suspect that no one would have heard the plane coming down.

    Sad story all the way around. Best place to jog, indoor track at gym.

    A

  2. That’s terrible! That’s one of the situations where one second earlier or later and the guy could have been fine. I mean what are the chances of a small plane hitting you while you are jogging?? R.I.P

  3. Rob says:

    Okay….he died but did the iPod survive? I could see that making a great Apple commercial.

    @Andy…I believe it would make a…get the hell out of the way there’s a freaking plane falling out of the sky type of sound…but I could be wrong.

  4. Jim says:

    Just so you know the Lancair is considered experimental but it is a very sophisticated and expensive, professionally designed aircraft. It is considered experimental because the owner/pilot under direct supervision involves the owner in the construction of their aircraft. In this way the pilot becomes intimately familiar with the aircraft in ways a pilot flying a certified aircraft cannot. Lancairs are extremely safe aircraft so I’m not sure what might have happened here, the FAA will investigate and report on it once the findings are known. You implying that the licensed pilot, who you refer to as “a bored ass wipe” is very ignorant. In fact the pilot sustained an engine failure for an as yet undetermined reason and did not panic. Instead he maintained control of the aircraft and avoiding heavily populated areas he proceeded to conduct an emergency landing on an open beach. Unfortunately a jogger ran into the path of the descending aircraft at which point the pilot was already committed and was powerless to change his flight path. This was an unfortunate turn of events for everyone including the pilot who has to live with this.

  5. Brandon says:

    Well said Jim.

  6. Jake says:

    Agree with Jim.

    “Experimental” does not mean the aircraft is poorly built or that the engineers dispatched with safe design and common sense. All new designs are given this designation before they are awarded with a type certificate.

    The FAA considers these aircraft to be airworthy, otherwise they would not be given an Airworthiness Certificate.

    In the case of the Lancair, this aircraft is so proven that Cessna now builds production versions, the Corvalis 350 and 400.

    The NTSB will determine the cause of the accident, but it doesn’t sound like it had anything to do with the aircraft’s category. These things can happen to any aircraft.

  7. @Jim/Jake, etc.
    My issue is not so much that the plane is experimental as my general feeling that the people who fly them are merely joy riders, flying for no real purpose other than a hobby. For the most part these smaller planes enthusiasts, as rich as they are, can only afford single engine deals (with the exception of John Travolta) where if the engine fails, the plane falls. Even experienced pilots would have trouble landing in such a situation, so when I hear of a single engine plane crashing into a house and killing a family, or even making an emergency landing on a highway and simply stopping traffic for an hour, it is all unnecessary. Joyriding in a plane is not like driving a motorcycle or even a boat for pleasure, as there is very little chance you will hurt any innocent people if you experience a mechanical failure.

    If it turns out this pilot was performing actual work, like he was hired to take aerial photographs or get Buddy Holly from Point A to Pont B, then I will apologize in this case, but if he’s just a lawyer or something who wants to be a weekend Top Gun wannabe, then he’s all that I hate.

    - The Doc

  8. Chris says:

    Hmm… this is a tough one… those single engine planes seem to kill innocent people all the time, and the pilots are far less experienced than “real job” pilots.

    But on the other hand, the odds do seem a bit low to be hit by one, on a beach with no other people.

    So… how about all single engine aircraft must install emergency sirens and air horns?

  9. Tech Dude says:

    Everyone here has great opinions and have covered each side. I agree with Jim, Dr Macenstein and Chris. Chris, installing sirens is a great idea, but I’m sure someone already thought of that and dismissed it, because if there’s a power failure, then what? or if the siren goes off by mistake/error in readings and causes unnecessary worries/delays etc. Furthermore, installing these sirens would tell the public to expect more small plane crashes, make everyone want to have them removed from flying all together, etc.
    Dr. Macenstein has a great point. But, have you considered that this flight may have been a “test flight” If so, do you consider a “test flight” joyriding? The story isn’t completely clear, but the plane was mentioned as experimental. So this possibility exists.
    Jim, thanks for the insight into the manufacturer and how these pilots are involved in the construction of these planes and flying them. I would agree, they’re a lot more knowledgeable and can do things to recover from malfunctions that other pilots not involved in the construction of the craft they fly.

    My condolences go to the pilot(s) and family for the loss of the jogger’s life .

  10. Jeem says:

    So Dr. Macenstein, you’re saying that your issue is with amateur pilots flying potentially dangerous single engine planes because it’s unnecessary and they’re doing it for fun?

    How do you feel about an amateur car driver out on a Sunday drive killing a pedestrian listening to his iPod? We should ban driving cars for fun too?

    >Joyriding in a plane is not like driving a motorcycle or even a boat for pleasure, as there is very little chance you will hurt any innocent people if you experience a mechanical failure.

    Mechanical failure/malfunction on bikes and watercraft CAN be very dangerous to the drivers and those around them. These accidents do happen – they’re just not as sensationalised as aircraft accidents.

    Do a search on the NTSB site (http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/query.asp) for light aircraft accidents where non-occupants are hurt or killed. You might be surprised at how rare these occurances are.

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