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UVU Plane Crash

Old 11-17-2010, 03:34 PM
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Unhappy UVU Plane Crash

It's certainly quite unsettling to not know what happened especially with suggestions of the engine cutting out.
Tailwinds and blue skies... - 2 killed in plane crash in Payson

Flight instructor, student killed in Payson plane crash
November 17th, 2010 @ 8:45pm

PAYSON -- An aviation student and instructor from Utah Valley University were killed Wednesday afternoon when their plane crashed in Payson near an elementary school.

The single engine Diamond DA-20, a plane used regularly at the school, fell out of the sky onto a front yard near 500 South and 500 West, just east of Wilson Elementary School, around 1:15 p.m.

Fortunately, no one on the ground was injured, but Jamie Bennee, a 34-year-old certified flight instructor, and David Whitney, a 25-year-old aviation student, from the Utah Valley University flight school died in the crash. It's not known who was piloting the craft when it went down.

The plane landed in the front yard of a house, bringing down some power lines with it; but it missed the house and Wilson Elementary school, which is right across the street.

There's no word yet on why the plane crashed, but witnesses say they heard the engine stop and saw the plane start spiraling down out of control.

"I was in my front yard when I heard the engine shut off. You naturally look up when you hear that, and saw a plane at least 1,000 yards up. The tail went up and immediately went into a tight tail spin," Art Colegrove said. "It just kept getting lower and lower, and I'm saying to myself, start back up, start back up. It got about 75 yards above the ground when it kicked back on, and you could see he was trying to pull out of it, but it was just too late, just too low. At that point we heard the crunch and got right over here."

"I had seen the plane wobbling a bit, getting lower and lower and lower, and I was just hoping it would find it's place. Then all of a sudden I just saw it disappear. Then I knew it went down and it was really sad," Salemon Habib said.

It's unknown at this point if the plane had an engine failure or if they were practicing stall maneuvers. That is part of the investigation.

Plane crashed near elementary school

Nebo School District superintendent Rick Nielsen says the crash didn't affect any school property. He says the plane downed some power lines, but says none of the students were in danger.

School was dismissed at 2:00 p.m.Students were released on the opposite side of the school so they wouldn't have to see the commotion.

Grief counselors will be at the school Thursday to talk to students who might be a little scared of what happened, thinking it could happen again.

UVU community in mourning

Bennee was a mother of two young children, ages 18 months and 4. Her best friend tells KSL Bennee loved to fly and was going back to school to get her master's degree in accounting.

UVU spokesman Chris Taylor said, "The aviation community, as you all know, is a close-knit community, and obviously, as an aviation program, they're in mourning. But beyond that, as an institution, we're grieving as well because when we lose two family members, obviously, any family member, the institution grieves."

"We do know that this is the first fatality involving a UVU aircraft in the long history of our aviation program," UVU President Matt Holland said. "I know that we all join together in offering our deepest condolences to the family and acquaintances of those whose lives were cut short today as well as our friends in the Aviation Science department."

There are 350 students in the program in Orem. There are about eight full-time flight instructors and 52 more part-time instructors. All flights have been grounded at the UVU flight center.

Officials described the flight as a routine flight.

Last edited by uvuflier; 11-17-2010 at 08:55 PM. Reason: Updating Article
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Old 11-17-2010, 07:21 PM
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Wow! Again!

Well now I'm definitely getting the creeps.
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:13 PM
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I don't think by standers on the ground can discern with any significant level of accuracy wether a piston engine has quit or if it was running at idle, but FWIW I did have an engine quit on me in a DA20 while I was demonstrating spins to a student. Even though the engine came back to life as we recovered, I always found it unsettling that the engine would quit during a spin even with the pumps switched on.

My condolences to the families of both pilots.
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:35 PM
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Condolences to family and friends of the deceased.

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Old 11-17-2010, 08:51 PM
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I agree I don't think a bystander could tell if it was an engine out or a power off stall gone awry.

I would certainly like to know if a mechanical was at fault ASAP though. It will certainly be a distraction at the front of my mind for the next few months. Perhaps a good distraction as the entire time I'll be flying I'll be (rightfully) thinking of where to land should my engine go kaput.

As it is our entire fleet is grounded for the next few days.

One thing is for sure, I'm going to sit in every plane from here on out and go over emergency procedures and spin recovery until I can do them with my eyes closed. Last thing I need is to end up a story for my folks to read about back home. If this isn't enough, I guess it'll be my time.

Today was a very sad day for those of us at UVU.

BYUFlyer did you do any training or teaching at UVU?
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Old 11-18-2010, 05:30 AM
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RIP once again, saddened to hear more news in this regard. Be safe out there folks!
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:22 AM
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If they were attempting a spin recovery, the engine would have been at idle (at least until they got desperate).

Also note the media article makes the usual gross conceptual error that stall = engine out.

RIP. I feel so bad for the little kiddies.
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:30 AM
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Interesting that the witness reported the distances in yards, not feet.

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Old 11-19-2010, 07:35 AM
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May they rest eternal in blue skies.

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Old 11-19-2010, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rickair7777 View Post
If they were attempting a spin recovery, the engine would have been at idle (at least until they got desperate).

Also note the media article makes the usual gross conceptual error that stall = engine out.

RIP. I feel so bad for the little kiddies.
As much as I hate to speculate when people have died, I think you're on to something. What drew their attention to the "engine failure?" Was it the popping sound of backfiring when you suddenly pull the power to idle?

Best wishes to all who are mourning, especially the kids.
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