Best Of The Web: Blancolirio Turbine Otter Crash Summary


On Sept. 4, 2022, 10 people were killed when a turbine Otter en route from Friday Harbor to Renton, Washington, crashed off Whidbey Island. In this video summary, Juan Brown of the blancorilirio channel covers what’s known about the accident and some potential wear and corrosion issues with older Otters operated on floats.

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  1. I’m concerned about AvWeb promoting Blancolirio’s videos. I’ve watched a couple of his analyses of previous accidents and find them exploitive. He’s obviously trying to walk a fine line between speculation and factual. He states at the end we have no idea what brought this plane down after he spent 6 minutes pointing toward corrosion and structural failure. He’s wearing his FO uniform which I suppose is aimed at giving him gravitas as an ASI.

    In this YouTube world a Blancolirio type of channel is bound to emerge. I wish the NTSB would take the initiative by more timely issuance of final reports. The cause of many accidents are known to field investigations within days but the final report isn’t issued for months. Highly technical investigations certainly will require more time, perhaps such as this one. Many final reports, though, could be published sooner thereby having more potency for aviation safety.

    • Exactly correct – on both the video and NTSB timeliness points Terry.

      Avweb should have used the lead-in: More Speculation on the Recent Otter Crash

      • Yes, I wish I would have thought of that. I’m uncomfortable censoring viewpoints which blocking Blancolirio would be. However, a proper introduction as you suggest, labeling it as speculation would be entirely appropriate.

    • A bit hypocritical of AVWEB to push a piece on an individual opining about a possible cause of a crash while AVWEB produced a piece not long ago critical of those that did just that in the comments. Which is it AVWEB?????

    • Exactly. He’s got no investigative training or background, nor is his aviation background anything but ordinary. He and the other amateurs are nothing more than video paparazzi, making money off of tragedy, stoking controversy as necessary to keep the attention and clicks coming.

      Both of the main players in this (the other was ostensibly fired from a major airline) are abrasive and difficult to stomach in their delivery, and are undistinguished with respect to technical brilliance, or intellectual acumen.

    • He’s sometimes spot on–the Prime Air 757 crash was an example. He missed the mark with the MD mishap in Miami, describing a “Hard Landing” preceding the left gear collapse. Before the NTSB eventually publishes their findings, which take years to finalize, people will speculate with abandon about aircraft accidents that don’t offer smoking gun videos or living crew/passenger statements. They’re STILL speculating about Earhart’s demise (I’m leaning toward Alien Abduction on that one…)

  2. Extremely well done! I would encourage you to subscribe to his channel and maybe throw a buck or two his way. Juan always does a great job of analyzing mishaps.
    No I’m not a shill for Juan, his stuff is good.

    • He’s a social media influencer, not a professional investigator with any credibility whatsoever. Why would anyone donate to that?

  3. Let’s face it folks, he’s giving the fast food buying, sound bite consuming, headline only, last page of the novel first reading public what they want.

    I will give him a lot of credit though, he does truly make an effort to research and balance his video with facts and very little opinion, unlike some of the other self proclaimed “EXPERTS”.

    For example the guy who can tell you what the “probable cause” is less than 48 hrs. after the accident. All this without visiting the accident site, interviewing any witness or being rated/experienced in the accident aircraft.

    I would say Juan is about the “Best of the Web”, for what that’s worth….

    • “Probable Cause” guy (D.G.) knows his stuff and does his research. In his video the day before
      Juan’s he stated he had done 30 hrs of research and found some interesting accident data. He found 3 other Turbine Otter accidents that had a similar flight profile: sudden, near vertical descent. They all were due to a broken elevator servo tabs. The 3rd one even happened to one of the same company’s Turbine Otter on 5/24/22! D.G. could possibly have gotten this wrong, but he makes a convincing argument.

      When I was watching Juan’s video the following day I felt like Juan was exhibiting weird behavior. He is fumbling for words and acting distracted. I was thinking that he knew he had to put out a video of this accident, that he knew D.G. got it correct, and that Juan needed to make his video more “interesting” which is why I think he was speculating about possible accident causes that really did not make any sense.

      That’s my $.02.


      • Yeah, I don’t care how much “internet” research DG did, if you haven’t seen a piece of wreckage (or talked to someone who has), interviewed a witness, all you’re doing is speculating and that’s not a “Probable” Cause, that’s a “Possible”, “Maybe”, “Sorta Kinda” Cause. He rarely leaves the door open for any other possibility.

        My problem is he co-opted the term that is “widely” accepted as the official reason for the accident.

  4. I haven’t watched many of Juan’s videos, but the ones I have seen, I liked. In this particular video, Juan discusses what we do know at this point (not much), and spends some time on analysis of the ADS-B flight profile, which indicates a nearly vertical descent into the water. There are only a few things that would cause such a descent, but one of the most prominent is inflight breakup of the aircraft. Juan then goes on to discuss a prior structural failure in an Otter. During the last couple of minutes of his video, Juan says (several times) that the cause of this crash is unknown.

    I feel that speculation of the cause of a crash can be beneficial, since it usually results in a heightened awareness that things can, and do, go wrong and that none of us is immune to the consequences of our actions. This is particularly valuable since, as noted above, it can take months (or longer) before an accident report is released. Most pilots will speculate on the cause of a crash … and this could be a good thing.

    • “Most pilots will speculate on the cause of a crash … and this could be a good thing.”

      And that’s something I’ve stopped doing, and generally don’t participate in pre-accident report discussions. I learned from TWA Flight 800 that sometimes the “obvious” cause is not the actual cause, and analyzing an accident without all the facts can sometimes lead to worrying about something that isn’t a problem and not thinking about what might actually be a problem.

    • Not rocket science.
      “Let’s Make A Deal!”
      1. Bomb
      2. Suicide\Homicide
      3. Space Laser
      4. Structural failure likely as a result of saltwater corrosion

      hmmm….Ill take door #4 Monty….

  5. Including Blancolirio amateurish and speculative presentations as an AvWeb feature is disappointing at best and damages AvWebs’ credulity. When Mr. Bertorelli produces one I’ll watch intently and with confidence that I’m observing a professional at work. I’ll not watch any Blancolirio again.

    • Agree. He’s a wannabe without any professional investigative credentials whatsoever. No military aviation or civilian safety school, terrible speaker (his delivery is halting, shouted and abrasive), and he “knows” just enough to impress pilots who know almost nothing.

      Avweb ought to think carefully about linking trash, and do some background checking on all of the Youtube heros before further promotion.

  6. It seems as if a brief vertical climb followed by a near vertical descent would most probably be caused by elevator issues. Proceeding on that assumption to considering structural failures in the elevator itself, attachment points, activation assembly and control linkages to the yoke, also seems most probable. Yes, this is speculative, but when the other factor of nonvisible stuctural failure is introduced, in the context of a 50 plus year old plane flying in a salt water environment, the probabilities do seem to suggest that Brown’s speculations are reasonably accurate. Perhaps the most important take away from this event is to possibly consider that this type of operation, in this age and type of aircraft, presents more risk than other types of aircraft operations, and that potential and actual passengers should be informed that flying in this aircraft presents more risk of injury and death than does flying on a scheduled airline…perhaps even presenting the numbers in an easy to understand form, comparing the death and injury rates to other forms of transportation.

  7. ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’.
    Is it better to be an aviaion snob hrumphing in the stuffed chair of conformity stifling the free flow of ideas, or a childish, subjective, guitar playing speculator whimsically contemplating reports of an open cockpit sled overloaded with gift wrapped packages and a white bearded portly senior at the controls.

  8. Did I miss something? Did Blancolirio dump an old lady out of her wheelchair? Did he kick a puppy? Why all the hate? Just for sharing common sense opinions? Car jacking, robbery, assault, all misdemeanors in 2022 but stating an opinion someone disagrees with…1st degree FELONY.

  9. Wow, imagine that,
    A bunch of pilots with strong opinions!

    I just don’t get all the professional jealousy bordering on hate. The dude is out there making his way on the playing field. We all speculate about this sort of thing and he’s no different. I enjoy receiving his early insights and information so as to sharpen my own speculations. Maybe he makes a few bucks along the way. Maybe gets a little fame and recognition. Who gives a flying eff (pun intended).

    I crewed with this man before I got sent to pasture.
    A very nice fella, fine professional aviator, did his job expertly, tons of experience from many avaition sectors and a pleasant ride to and from the islands.

    Ease up a little boys and girls,