Going Down the Rabbit Hole

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Going down the rabbit hole, in my boxers, in the hotel room.



So I am on a 7 day trip right now, sitting in my upgraded suite at the Hilton in Naples. It was a pretty easy day of flying.  Followed by some good seafood and a few craft brews, overall not a terrible day.  As I started to unwind in my room I decided to hit the ol’ Facebook for my nightly entertainment and usual head scratching. A page I have “liked” from an aircraft sales company had posted an ad for a T-28 (the warbird) but had used the wrong picture. The picture was a business jet, one I was not familiar with. Meet the Aerospatiale Corvette, more specifically N600RA:

Aerospatiale Corvette N600RA

Aerospatiale Corvette N600RA

This was the actual plane that the aircraft sales site had put a picture of, so that is where my search began. I began reading anecdotal information on the aircraft. Initially, I thought it was a cross between a Falcon 20, and a Lear 35. Actually I still think some design queues were taken from both of those aircraft, given the time period the Corvette was made. N600RA, S/N 601 is special. So special, that I will probably never forget her. She now holds a special place in my heart, as she is attached to the most interesting NTSB accident report I have ever read.


So the picture posted by the aircraft sales site was in error, but they had sold N600RA decades ago, and still had the picture on their site.  On March of 1998, she was destroyed in an accident during takeoff from PDK. While scary, and sometimes tragic, takeoff accidents are not a startling surprise. This is where it gets weird…


The pilot elected to try and depart PDK, with 4 passengers on board, and no properly rated co-pilot, with only one engine operating. Yes you read that right, he elected to takeoff using only one engine. He tried multiple times to start the other engine before taxiing out, but to no avail. Reading the NTSB report further, only sucked me into more weirdness. The pilot had taxied back to the FBO reporting engine issues, got back in the plane, taxied out on one engine, took off on one engine, crashed, then lied to NTSB investigators, saying that the engine had failed at V1. The CVR, or Cockpit Voice Recorder, would paint a much different story to investigators.


This blog post isn’t so much about detailing the events of the accident, more so it highlights how one picture of an odd looking airplane, can lead you down to a path that ends at the most interesting NTSB report I have ever read. Here is an AvWeb link to the NTSB report, and some other highlights on the accident:




I highly suggest you read it, because I feel it highlights a huge problem that plagues aviation to this day, and I am considering writing a follow up blog or two to give my thoughts on what goes on at small 91, and 135 charter companies.

-Mark Pollard

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