Silent Killer

Silent Killer

By Mike Busch A&P/IA
Cessna Pilots Association, October 2014

If you think CO-related accidents are rare, think again...

On January 17, 1997, a Piper Dakota departed Farmingdale, New York, on a planned twohour VFR flight to Saranac Lake, New York. The pilot was experienced and instrumentrated; his 71-year-old mother, a low-time private pilot, occupied the right seat. Just over a half-hour into the flight, Boston Center got an emergency radio call from the mother, saying that the pilot (her son) had passed out.

The controller attempted a flight assist, and an Air National Guard helicopter joined up with the aircraft and participated in the talkdown attempt. Ultimately, however, the pilot’s mother also passed out.

The aircraft climbed into the clouds, apparently on autopilot, and continued to be tracked by ATC. About two hours into the flight...

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