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(8 December 2021, Houston Texas) This story is about a West Houston student pilot named Solomon who was allowed to solo in a Cessna 172 a few weeks before the incident below. After the solo flight, the 23-year-old decided to buy a different plane type that he had no training in: a Piper PA-28-140.

For the majority of readers who are not pilots, here are some student flyer license restrictions:

  1. A student pilot may not fly at night without specific endorsement by the instructor.
  2. A student pilot must fly under 'visual flight rules' meaning only during daylight hours and keeping distance from clouds.
  3. A student pilot may not fly on a hazy or foggy day. There must be at least 3 miles of visibility, and some instructors place a more stringent requirement of +6 vis. on student licenses.
  4. ...

...the wreckage of the Piper plane was identified deep in a heavily wooded area.

Blog: two killed private plane crash west houston

Submitted on 03/21/2022

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Bruce said:
Definitely Keep: Darwin Award
I agree with you two. In a tiny shaky 'volkswagon bug' of an aircraft, a passenger has a duty to verify the ability of the pilot. But will readers agree? The passenger was only a 20-year-old. Even experienced pilots have trouble with non-visual navigation. I was flying with a pilot and it was evening by the time we returned to the San Carlos airfield. He was not receiving any comms from the tower. Turns out we were flying into the wrong airport, which was communicated to us awkwardly since his instruments were not tuned to receive comms from this airport. Eek!

Bruce said:
Definitely Keep: Darwin Award
My only concern with this story is that the passenger could be considered a hurt bystander given the crash was no fault of their own. But having said that, I've had a lot of experience as a passenger in small aircraft like these. My brother is a pilot and I have flown with him in everything from a Piper Cub (analogous to a 1950's era Volkswagen Beetle) to a Pitts Special (Ferrari) over the years. When flying in small aircraft like these you really need to know and trust the pilot, understand what they're licensed to fly, and know that your safety is fully in their hands. The passenger certainly should have questioned the student license that the pilot had, and his lack of experience with the aircraft that they crashed in.

Tracy said:
Definitely Keep: Darwin Award
I'm with Bruce on this one - if I'm getting in a plane with you as the pilot - I *will* be making sure you are qualified to fly it