In-Flight Cockpit Fire Survivor Jade Schiewe
On Sept. 28, 2010, a Cessna 172RG was flying at 10:38 a.m. local time over Oklahoma when the situation became life-threatening. On board were a CFI candidate and his instructor. They were about four miles out from Richard Lloyd Jones Airport, near Tulsa, and had just selected "gear down" when fire broke out behind the instrument panel. Flames quickly spread to the rug and seats and filled the cockpit with thick black smoke. Getting down safely and immediately became the instant responsibility of 28-year-old instructor Jade Schiewe, and what happened next was the result of skill, instinct and knowledge. AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with Schiewe about the experience that left Schiewe with second and third degree burns and a slipped disc in his back. That conversation is this week's podcast.
According to the factual report (PDF), the FAA inspector who responded to the accident "found evidence that the terminal lug on the hydraulic pump was improperly installed and had shorted," presumably when gear down was selected for the second time during the flight. The report states that installation procedures for the hydraulic power package did not specifically mention the "proper" part for use in covering the terminal lug. Schiewe hopes pilots can learn from his experience and plans to pursue positive solutions with the government, regulating bodies and other parties to address the safety conditions particular to his flight. His body is well on the mend and Schiewe tells us he was just cleared for flight this past Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011.