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North Carolina co-pilot who jumped from plane upset about hard landing: NTSB

'Got up from his seat, removed his headset, apologized and departed the airplane via the aft ramp door,' report states of Charles Crooks incident ( More...

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Torsten Hoff 37
How very sad. A damaged landing gear can be repaired and not worth dying for.
Rico van Dijk 27
A bit deeper investigation reveals that the company policy is harsh, autocratic, and there are punishments for every mistake. I feel so sorry for every copilot that has started their career there. It seems to be a hell on earth :( RIP.
ewrcap 4
WHO’s investigation? I would not be surprised if a company that caters to the military could be difficult to work for but I haven’t heard of any other of their pilots committing suicide. I do feel very sorry that this poor guy felt this was the only way out. It will be interesting to find out what else was happening in his life.
royalbfh 8
either way, so he gets fired, its still kind of a strange solution to just dive out of the back of an airplane. Honestly, what if this had not happened but later in his career flying for UPS or United and he did something wrong, what would his reaction have been? very sad indeed.
Rico van Dijk 9
It’s not that easy, if you are a low hour pilot no matter where you apply you’ll need a letter of good behaviour/recommendation of your last employer. This kid must have thought (and perhaps that was what him was told) that his aviation career had just ended. A broken landing gear is quite a stain on a fresh record. The depts of flight training are already high, add to that the cost of repair of the aircraft (so I heard company policy to let employees pay for damages). I can totally relate that the kid didn’t see a way out anymore. All of which could have been prevented by a more forgiving attitude of the company.
ewrcap 6
You have an active imagination. A company can not make a pilot pay for damaging an airplane unless a crime is involved. Also, this would be classified as an incident or minor accident since it did not involve injury and he is not the only low time pilot to have dinged an airplane and still have a splendid career. This would not have prevented him from being hired at an airline, especially in the current hiring climate. A letter of good behavior? Never heard of it. A recommendation? Yes, but employers (I am one) these days rarely give negative reviews of employees for fear of lawsuits. His training record and FAA records would be more appropriate for evaluation.
21voyageur 10
Clearly, a mental health issue has contributed here. Sad that the pilot had deteriorated to that point. If true, the company's culture may have also been a factor. Do you think there will be lawyers involved? Right!
sparkie624 4
I would agree... To me it is hard to understand how someone can do that, but it is a fact they do. It is very sad when that happens. You would think that someone would have seen some warning signs before it got to this point, because I can't imagine just 1 incident pushing him over the edge.
James Murdock 2
What questions would you ask to determine how a 23-year-old pilot in training would act if he thought his career was just flushed down the toilet?
James Murdock 2
Oops this attached to the wrong post... Sorry!
rmchambers 18
Makes you wonder how many other pilots may be in need of help but won't ask for it because the arcane way the FAA evaluates mental health.

Just a sad story all the way round.

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ewrcap 8
Wow. So I need to be a psychiatrist to keep my CFII? Even professionals can’t always tell what a person is going to do. I worked my way through university as an EMT. One of my early calls was to the scene where one of my dorm mates jumped in front of a train because his girlfriend broke up with him. He went in the coroner’s wagon. None of us suspected anything like that happening. Young people don’t always have good coping mechanisms with no prior experience. Just like VFR pilots who fly into IMC. They develop tunnel vision.
Russell Rose 8
Unfortunately, we will never know the real reason for this pilot’s bizarre move. There had to be more going on with him and the damaged landing gear was the proverbial last straw. Sad ending.
sparkie624 2
Very true.... The one holding the Secret has long since left us without leaving any kind of clue! I hate to think that he jumped and would like to think he was just checking the gear damage from a better vantage point, but the overwhelming conclusion is that he departed the A/C Voluntarily....
Jack Poole 8
Did the pilot actually see him leave the plane, or was he sucked out unintentionally? Just because he apologized doesn't mean he was going to kill himself.
21voyageur 9
We are but arm-chair lawyers at this point.
Richard Loven 7
We will never know for sure what happened. The NTSB after a year or so will come up with the best scenario. I am going to give the deceased the benefit of the doubt.
sparkie624 11
Very Sad... There is no issue worth giving your life up for! There is not a Pilot in the World who has not made a bad landing at some point in your Flying Lifetime!, Most pilots, more than they can remember... I remember a CRJ900 Landing when the plane landed, we hit so hard I wondered if we had crashed!
Michael Blackstock 10
There was nothing in the NTSB preliminary report that stated the co-pilot jumped purposely or otherwise. The report was very deliberately worded to state that the co-pilot departed the aircraft. Nothing more or less.

The report makes no speculation about the cause of this departure. The report only presents factual statements not speculation.

This jump narrative is poorly written copy by Fox News and I've noticed that Plane and Pilot even states in their copy that the co-pilot 'intentionally jumped'. In the latter case, it shows a lack of character to possibly defame a dead person knowing there are no consequences to the act. Time will tell if the NTSB reaches the same conclusion in their probable cause statements of the final report for this tragic incident.
K R 2
As they should The NTSB always, I mean always, refuse to commit to any theory until they examine all of the evidence that they can gather - what you call speculation. So the not saying anything by the NTSB is meaningless. The jump narrative is by others (like the readers here) examining the evidence presented so far, so perfectly valid speculation. Will the speculation turn out to be what the NTSB end up saying - no one knows (including you and the NTSB).
EMK69 13
The difference between flight aware and another posts on this subject. There is still NO CONFIRMED proof he committed suicide.
K R 1
The only "confirmed proof", if you would like, for suicide by any means is a definitive statement recorded either verbally or in writing. Clearly, like the bulk of suicides, the intent has to be extrapolated from the environment and the behavior: as is being done here and ALL websites, reports or whatever. For this incident it is perfectly clear there will never, ever be "confirmed proof".

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D Rotten 4
ALL MSM 'news' is FAKE NEWS.....and that INCLUDES FAUX!
Donnetta Byrd 1
So glad someone sees that the rest are just like FOX. They all lie and distort the truth.

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21voyageur 2
Where is Scotty when we need him! Transporter issue.
Chris B 8
Media such as Fox News will always sensationalize stories to secure the most clicks.

I prefer to read the actual document. If you want a video, follow Blancolerio’d you tube channel.
Brian Freeman 4
Chris - Because there's certainly nothing sensational about this story....Happens all the time, right??
srobak 2
unlike every other news agency... lol
Chris Caines 2
Maybe it was CNN or Morning Joe.

Don’t bring politics into a sad story.
Ryan Robinson 4
Serious question: when I got my PPL, my instructor told me that you have to have a perfectly clean record to get hired by the majors - any failed tests or issues could ruin your chances. Is it possible that he figured with an accident on his record his chances of flying commercially were over? That could be a lot of pressure on someone if it was their lifelong dream. Thoughts?
Dray Hines 3
Certainly not worth taking your own life over. He could have done something else with his license....Sad...
Not everyones "life long dreams" come true!! You move on (if that's the case)...He was young....Young people no longer no how to handle a percieved loss....because they are taught and are given just about everything....They, basically, don't know how to lose....When you lose, and we all have, you suck it up and move forward...
Kevin Keswick 16
"The co-pilot opened his side cockpit window and "may have gotten sick," the report stated. He then lowered the ramp in the back of the airplane, indicating that he felt like he was going to be sick and needed air."

Did it not occur to anyone that the co-pilot opened his side cockpit window to get a view of the damaged right landing gear and when he couldn't see the gear clearly went to the back and lowered the ramp to get a better view and he fell out by accident?

This would be a more logical explanation to what happened. According to the NTSB this young pilot committed suicide. Presumably they created this suicide narrative based on an interview with the Captain. What exactly did the Captain say?

Of course the co-pilot would have been upset with the hard landing but he had no way to know if in fact that landing gear was damaged without trying to visually see it. It does a terrible disservice to the memory of this young man and his loved ones to claim he committed suicide when there is no evidence to support this. All evidence points to an accident!

Can't wait to hear Dan Gryder's take on this! I bet he will have a lot to say!
Rico van Dijk 8
I wish you were right, but a bit deeper study, including many articles about this company in general, and the ATC recording of this flight suggest otherwise.
Kevin Keswick 8
Check out this video from Blancolirio
bosquetia 4
100% in agreement. Lowered the rear door so he could get a better look at the gear. Makes total sense. I'm not buying the suicide theory. Yes he may have been upset but to jump out willingly as a way to end it all because of a bad landing does not seem right.
Bosquetia--at least the headnline's aren't misleading, as others have been.
The article is the best and most accurate as I've seen.
tlfys1 6
Exactly, I have been saying that this is the most likely thing that happened here other than the media's version that this kid killed himself. Now to add to their story that he did it because of a hard landing is obtuse to say the least.
cyberjet 6
It is not “the media’s version” of anything. The report is based on statements from the NTSB.
dkenna 3
“What did you call me?!” A month in the hole!
Dave Mathes 2
... that is a very interesting hypnosis worth delving into...well said
This sounds believable. I don't buy that this was an intentional jump or fall. Poor kid.
bbabis 1
No one was going to get a view of the right gear. It wasn’t there. The crew was informed that the gear assembly was recovered along the runway.
sparkie624 0
Initial reports stated it was the FO who would have been the logical selection to go check it out... It was later corrected that the Captain went back... He had the final Authority on the A/C as to who goes, and well... He Went!
Kevin Keswick 5
Do you have links to these reports? I can't imagine the Captain DURING AN EMERGENCY SITUATION getting out of his seat to go to the back of the aircraft to lower the ramp to get a better look at the landing gear after witnessing his co-pilot sticking his head out of the right cockpit window and possibly getting sick!

None of these reports add up!

Blancolirio provided a more likely explanation of what happened in this video:
Torsten Hoff 3
But we must acknowledge that the information in that video is speculation. The assumptions are reasonable, but he did not have access to all of the information that the NTSB investigators did.
sparkie624 1
I will look for them! I did!
sparkie624 3
From the original article where the Co=Pilot article came from: - "Man told RDU tower his co-pilot 'jumped out' of plane before emergency landing"
AWAAlum 3
Not for a moment do I believe this comment will be popular, however, the thought continues to cross my mind: what if it wasn't suicide? what if it wasn't an accident? What if it was ... murder? Why is the surviving pilot's story unquestionably accepted? With only his word, will the actual facts ever be known?
sparkie624 2
If there was an FDR that may help answer some of those questions, and something that I had never thought of!
K R 1
A comment is a comment. Possible but highly improbable. Not worth pursuing unless some really strong motive suddenly appears. Mine to your is: Any conspiracy could happen (which is why conspiracy theorists get media coverage) but I just don't see it in this case. Doe not make commons sense, particularly given the KISS principle of nature - this would be just way to complicated to pull off. Sorry but to support a theory you have to do more than arbitrarily dismiss the alternative theories.
AWAAlum 1
I respect what you say, however, I don't believe thinking he could have been so distraught over repercussions of the landing gear incident that it would lead to his committing suicide, is keeping it simple. It's simply too too bizarre. There has to be some rational explanation.
K R 1
Read my posts elsewhere but simply as an example: benzodiapine addicts can and do exhibit this type of bizarre behavior, and yes unfortunately, to the point of death. The probability of this being the case here is higher than your one.
AWAAlum 1
Are you an M.D.?
sparkie624 1
Google may be able to help you understand what he is saying! You do not have to be a Doctor to understand some medications.. "benzodiapine" is used to treat Alcohol Addiction, but in its self can cause unwanted problems... You do not have to be a Doctor to figure that part out! We will never know what was going through the pilots head at the time. I cannot see this as something at the flip of a switch, It just about had to be something that had been building inside of him... In regard to the Drug, if it was in his system, the NTSB will have an answer if they do not already.
AWAAlum 1
I understand what he's saying, spark. I asked because several of his posts deal with different meds and he spoke with assumed authority. I didn't mean to imply anything. I was merely wondering about his credentials.
Derek Vaughn 3
That was his reality, unfortunately. I'd say roughly half the population has mental illness of some form or another. Although most of us hide it really well.
ewrcap 3
To quote Thoreau…”a mass of men live lives of quiet desperation”
K R 1
Or another quote, but by whom I don't know. "Life is shit: and then you die".
K R 2
Pessimism if a mental condition certainly and it can and does lead to a number of suicides. And it is a nature/nurture condition. Some are born with it and some get it induced by drugs (mostly the antidepressant and anti-anxiety ones) which are often the most addictive drugs known to humans. Perhaps a lesson learnt is to prohibit pilots from flying while they are addicted to antidepressants?
mary susan watkins 3
Patrick Wahle 5
First of all, the CASA is built for landing on unprepared rough terrains. The landing gear is sturdy for this purpose so the initial attempt to land must have been a very hard landing in order to issue a request for an emergency landing.
I have been the president of the large skydiving center in France as well as a pilot. The rule was to have a parachute put on for any person present in the aircraft either be the pilot or a non-skydiving guest while doing skydiving runs.
In the army crew working the sticks are allowed to be tethered but not in civilian diving centers. So if the co-pilot had no parachute on when lowering the loading gate, it means he removed it after the skydiving runs or he did not obey the rules and regulations. Is it a suicide or an accident? In both cases this young deceased co-pilot was not fit to handle an emergency situation.
Dave Grabo 2
You are incorrect about pilots having parachutes. In the US, pilots of twin-engine jump planes (Twin Otter, Skyvan, CASA) do not have parachutes. Pilots of single-engine planes (C182, C208) do.
flyincj 5
Prayers and sympathy to his friends and family. Unless you’re a C 212 pilot or the captain of this particular flight, I’m really not interested in your theories or links to YouTube.
Guy Rovella 2
Was there any consideration that he just went back to hurl and fell out by accident?
chugheset 2
Damn, if dealt with all of my hard landings that way, I would have been gone a long time ago. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
doug staab 2
Natural selection? At least an unstable person didn't take anyone else with them. My CFI gave me a genius piece of advice. Fly an unworthy plane like your worst enemy, do everything in your power to tear it's ass up and walk away..
sparkie624 2
Sounds you and the Pilot had the same CFI... Maybe your CFI should have told him to land before walking away!
doug staab 1
Read my post again there sparkler. My point was to sacrifice the plane for your life.
Very sad ..
Rick D 2
Perhaps a bit premature to use the word jumped. Condemned by the media, supported by those involved in order to lessen possible liability?
bbabis 2
"He got up and ran out the back of the plane." PIC: N497CA "Shady02"

Not much more to be said.
Michael Blackstock 3
There is plenty to be said. Excited utterances are not always accurate because they are spo0ntaneous reactions made while the person is under the stress of the surrounding, startling events. Thus, it should be weighed in the light. Stress floods the brain with cortisol which can help the brain imprint a traumatic event, but that does not mean its accurate in the moment nor does it mean it helps the brain record the event accurately. The flood of cortisol only helps us overcome situations and quickly react to stressful events. Hopefully, there was a careful forensic interview of the same PIC after they had time to fully process the events.
bbabis 2
That was not an excited utterance. It was a very calm pilot stating facts and trying to get the situation through to the controller. He didn’t say he fell, slipped, or anything else. He said he ran out the back of the airplane and from his tone of voice even he couldn’t believe it. Unless there is video I’m sure there will always be doubters but the poor despondent kid jumped. Sad.
K R 1
This was not a particularly exited utterance. No more than to be expected given the sequence of events. One of the keys to verifying/validating the pilots observations will be the toxicology report and the examination of what drugs both were on at the time. For example only: benzodiazepines are highly addictive and addicts can exhibit the aberrant behavior in the co-pilot as described by the pilot. If one concludes that the company they worked for was quite stressful (as others in the blog have) then it raises the probability that the co-pilot was on antidepressants and might have been addicted to them and that this was the reason for his aberrant behavior including suicide. But the probability has to be checked by facts - the toxicology report, medical history and prescription history of the co-pilot.
K R 1
Possible but highly improbable. Not worth pursuing unless some really strong motive suddenly appears. Any conspiracy could happen (which is why conspiracy theorists get media coverage) but I just don't see it in this case. Doe not make commons sense, particularly given the KISS principle of nature - this would be just way to complicated to pull off.
zuluzuluzulu 1
Can you close the ramp from the pilot's seat?
SkyAware123 1
better this way than the copilot crashing the entire pilot w everyone in it.
K R 1
Amen to that. Also way better than those 2 mid-air collisions recently. Is one thing being stupid about your life; its another being stupid about others lives.
Dennis Stockton 1
Like the Japanese pilot in Tokyo Bay in 1982.
Milon Whittier 1
There is only one witness to this sad event. Ask him to take a polygraph to verify his account of what happened.
ewrcap 0
Gee, no bamboo under the fingernails?
K R 1
No. That's only required if the "truth" would add to the knowledge of the survivors (you and I) in how to avoid this fate for one of them in the future. Suicide, accident or murder or whatever it was a stupid incident to occur. The only lesson learnt is the one we already know: don't' be stupid; if you are then by the law of averages natures "survival of the fittest" law will get you.
Brian Freeman -4
Talk about a hard landing! I'm guessing his hard landing was nothing compared to the impact after his swan dive. Talk about irony...

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wiregold 7
"Cannot handle real world situations.' Sounds like a certain former guy who only likes winners.
Your a very low person to say anything . jerk

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supejc 3
you made me lol. thank you
Dave Mathes 1
...where are you even TRYING to go with this spatter...
vegaskukichyo -4
The perfect murder...


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