No Room for Error


In a similar accident that occurred just nine months after this one, a Cessna 172 collided with power lines 40 feet above the Mississipp­i River near Ramsey, Minnesota. The 300-hour pilot, 47, most probably failed to see the power lines—although they were marked by red balls—because he was coming around a bend in the river and facing the evening sun.

The NTSB included the pilot’s “personalit­y” among the causes of the accident. He was known to be a person who could not resist the impulse to do reckless things and brag about them later. His instructor urged him to cool it and, at one point, sardonical­ly suggested that if he intended to die in an airplane crash, he should at least not take his wife and son with him.

He took only his wife.

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