Viral Video Is Just What The Creators Ordered


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So it arrived with the morning batch of e-mail and it shocked the hell out of me. Here was an aerobatic plane of some kind going into what looked like a routine snap roll and the right wing falls off.

What’s interesting is that our “Video of the Week” this week shows the successful landing of an RC model with one wing, and the similarities are quite eerie.

They end there, though.

The RC video is real. The video of James Andersson, if that’s his real name, is a fake – a fairly clever one, but a fake nonetheless.

Watch it for yourself, and on the first run it looks faintly plausible.

Now, watch it with a critical eye:

  • Engine noises are out of sync.
  • Why would the wing fall off on a routine snap roll?
  • Watch the shadows disappear and reappear on the ground during the “landing.”
  • Why doesn’t anything bend or break in a landing that would turn just about any airplane into ball of aluminum?

Those are just a few of the things AVweb staffers picked out. There are probably lots more, and they will be discussed in fine detail over the next couple of days.

And that’s exactly what the clothing company KillaThrill is hoping for.

The video, which was posted Wednesday, has hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. It’s a clever marketing ploy that has undoubtedly raised the profile of the brand. But is that necessarily a good thing?

Those of us in aviation can take it for what it’s worth, but I guarantee that video will be circulating for years to come as a miracle in the air that only further confuses the general public’s view of aviation. And what’s worse is the company staged an “interview” with the alleged pilot in which he describes, rather clumsily, the sequence of events and the “hand of God” placing him, unscathed, back on terra firma.

Just in case, by the way, I’ve emailed James on the address provided by his elaborate (but likely bogus) web site asking him for an on-the-record interview. I don’t expect to hear back.

In a way, we’re propagating the many myths in this video just by presenting it to you. But the truth is that it’s become such a phenomenon that we couldn’t ignore it, simply because it has something to do with aviation.

But it has much more to do with selling clothes.