Three unusual aircraft accidents in the news recently. Most aviation accidents follow a known accident sequence, such as fuel exhaustion or inadvertent flight into IMC. Many times, the outcome is tragic but predictable.
I’ve never heard of a plane downed by a reptile…until now. An L-410 twin turboprop crashed killing the pilot and 19 others after a crocodile smuggled in a duffel bag escaped, causing a stampede toward the front of the cabin, throwing the aircraft out of balance. This was in the Republic of Congo and obviously no X-Ray machines . I can’t help but wish that a TSA employee with an attitude had opened that bag for inspection.
Next up: A powered parachute tangled with a balloon. One of the paragliders in the Arizona Airfest got a little too close to a hot air balloon, became entangled in the ropes, and tore the balloon fabric, causing it to deflate. Both aircraft fell about 500 feet from the sky severely injuring everyone. A balloon has virtually no maneuverability and this knucklehead got as close as he could. Note that a balloon has the right of way over any other category of aircraft by regulation. Criminal charges will be forthcoming.
Lastly, while there are unfortunately hundreds of light airplane accidents every year, it’s rare for a pilot to be equipped with a parachute for egress in a general aviation plane unless he /she is performing aerobatics. Supposedly, the pilot bailed out after experiencing control failure in a single-engine Aero Commander. Just a little too convenient to be sitting on a chute which isn’t all that comfortable. Reminds me of this guy.