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Mom: Boy didn´t steal plane in crash
Associated Press, by Phillip Rawls

Original Article

Posted By:BaseballFan, 1/2/2013 5:15:11 PM

Jasper, Ala. — A teen pilot killed along with two friends in an Alabama plane crash had his own key to the aircraft and had flown it many times, his mother said Wednesday, denying authorities´ assertion that the plane had been taken without permission. Sherrie Smith said her 17-year-old son Jordan Smith was the one flying the plane that went down in the Alabama woods Tuesday night, killing the him and two other male teens. (Snip) Smith says the owner of the plane had let her son fly it many other times and had given her son his own key. "He had used the plane many times before," she said.

Hard to believe the Mom is saying this, given the fact that her son wasn´t licensed to fly.


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Reply 1 - Posted by: JoElla Bee, 1/2/2013 5:27:21 PM     (No. 9095374)

It´s difficult to believe a plane owner and pilot would give the key to that plane to such a novice with permission to fly under the circumstances described in this story.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: Rubinski, 1/2/2013 5:32:08 PM     (No. 9095379)

Having lived in Alabama for a number of years, I can tell you that walker county, home to jasper, is a world unto itself.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: capt scurvey, 1/2/2013 5:34:18 PM     (No. 9095384)

Is mom covering for someone, or is it just mindless lying? Nobody´s going to give a student pilot permission to fly their airplane unsupervised anytime, much less at night...

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Reply 4 - Posted by: kanphil, 1/2/2013 5:36:23 PM     (No. 9095387)

If, as the article says, he was "one test short of earning his private pilot´s license" he shouldn´t have been flying with passengers unless one of them was a licensed pilot. The article is poorly written and doesn´t say. In any case, this is tragedy and my prayers are with the families.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: lakerman1, 1/2/2013 6:02:55 PM     (No. 9095428)

#4 is correct. Even if he had permission to fly a two engine aircraft (which is incorrect, since he didn´t even have his private pilot´s license) he was not competent to fly a two engine. (I can fly a single engine, but would not have ever considered a two engine, without a flight instructor on board. And even then, I would not be comfortable doing that.)
There has to be more to the story.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: Rubinski, 1/2/2013 6:06:58 PM     (No. 9095435)

Anything is possible in reference to Walker County.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: Bobn.t, 1/2/2013 6:39:40 PM     (No. 9095484)

Students are not permitted to fly with passengers nor permitted to fly aircraft in which they are not qualified and current.

Mama´s lying.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: john grady, 1/2/2013 7:37:26 PM     (No. 9095533)

Darwin will not be mocked!

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Reply 9 - Posted by: motorcycleboy, 1/2/2013 8:09:53 PM     (No. 9095570)

A student pilot, at night, in instrument conditions? With passengers? INSANE!

If indeed the owner let him fly his plane without a license, the FAA will be interested in interviewing him.

Reminds me of JFK Jr. and his fatal stupid human tricks with airplanes...

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Reply 10 - Posted by: rael, 1/2/2013 9:35:47 PM     (No. 9095651)

He may have had a key to the gate, but I just can´t see anyone giving a kid a key to an expensive twin engine airplane. Especially a kid who doesn´t know how to fly that well and doesn´t have a license.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: AntiStatist, 1/2/2013 11:00:49 PM     (No. 9095740)

I live 60 NMR from Jasper but on an arrival route into HSV and when I went outside Tuesday night I thought what a terrible night it was to be flying, even for the pros.

I´m instrument rated but I would not consider flying in low clouds and steady rain such as was the case for Tuesday evening. Our rain gauge indicated 1.75 inches as of this morning.

This kid must have been washing planes for owners and that´s how he had key access. He wasn´t even a single engine private pilot as yet.

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Reply 12 - Posted by: AntiStatist, 1/2/2013 11:09:22 PM     (No. 9095753)

Nautical Miles, not NMR.

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Reply 13 - Posted by: ColonialAmerican1623, 1/2/2013 11:28:20 PM     (No. 9095769)

I have no dog in this fight or any expertise, but if my son had just been killed along with two friends, I wouldn´t be able to speak.

G-d be with the families.

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Reply 14 - Posted by: Flybynight, 1/4/2013 10:13:13 AM     (No. 9098172)

Mama may not be "lying," she may have been misinformed by the kid. Almost all 17 year-old boys, especially student pilots, are invincible. A 17 year-old boy with two same-age pals, who are egging him on, maybe calling him ´chicken´ or worse, is in a precarious position even without the keys to a sophisticated airplane. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially in those circumstances. And yes, the twin owner may have let this nice enthusiastic kid come along for the ride on occasion, maybe even letting him fly it from the right seat, thinking to mentor him into a rewarding career. The boy, like many teenage student pilots, was probably an excellent stick, with a real knack for flying smoothly, in daylight with good visibility. He probably would have aced his Private Pilot´s check ride. The thing he hadnt learned is the survival key: good judgment. Knowing when to stay on the ground. The washing airplane for flying money is the only scenario that makes sense to me for his having a key, and the kid figured he would go around the pattern once, no harm, no foul. But with low ceilings and poor visibility, he was surely in way over his head with spatial disorientation in seconds, everything else was just inevitable. The owner surely regrets deeply the trust he placed in the boy.

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Reply 15 - Posted by: Flybynight, 1/4/2013 10:33:18 AM     (No. 9098224)

Or the student pilot might have seen where the owner hid a spare key and swiped it to make his own copy. No 17 year old thinks he will get caught. They are all much too clever for that. Low-time student pilot, low IFR conditions, passengers, night, complex twin.... Hey, what could possibly go wrong?

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