In a July 2, 2005 accident, a pilot was flying a Kelley Volmer Amphibian and during a hard landing on the Mississippi River near Nauvoo, Illinois performed a nose-dive into the river. Afterwards, the pilot claimed that he was “surprised” by a speedboat crossing beneath the airplane and struck the speedboat’s large wake upon landing which resulted in his nose-over. Unfortunately for the pilot, the passenger in the aircraft and the passenger’s daughter on the shore gave the NTSB versions of the accident that were very different from the pilot’s explanation.
According to the passenger in the aircraft, after the accident the pilot stated that he had stalled the aircraft. However, the video taken by the passenger’s daughter from shore was even more telling. According to the NTSB, the video showed that “[t]he aircraft made a low altitude, level turn toward the video camera. The recorded engine noise was consistent with an idle engine power setting. The airplane transitioned to a nose-down attitude and impacted the water. The recorded engine noise increased after the airplane transitioned to the nose low attitude. The airplane bounced off the water and nosed over after a second impact with the water. There was no evidence of a speedboat or rough water around the accident airplane during the accident sequence.”
Without seeing the video, it sure sounds like a stall. Hard to argue with that type of evidence. It also makes me wonder what the pilot was thinking when he gave his side of the story. Excuses are great, but they only work if they are consistent with the facts. In this case, the pilot’s excuse wasn’t. You can view the preliminary factual report by the NTSB here.