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Teen Flying Around the World Crashes Near American Samoa

The plane of seventeen-year-old American-born Pakistani Haris Suleman and his father Babar Suleman, who were attempting to fly around the world in 30 days, has crashed into the Pacific. Harris's body was located; the father is still missing. ( More...

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Gary Bennett 21
The aircraft was based at my home field (2R2) We as aviators should support the thrill of flight for all. What ever the cause, be it weather, mechanical or a bad judgment we should all pray what happened here should not befall us. Rest in Peace for the two that were lost.
Gael Arnold 8
Well written and yes Rest in Peace.
Maybe a few of you 'crochety' older types will recall a 16 year old from the 1920's. He dared to make a SOLO Transcontinental Flight with maybe a few more "tools" but much inferior equiptment. Later became one of the greatest self-taught weather and International navigational pilots in Commercial history. Flew as a pathfinder for TWA after the war on a Polar Route out of England into Honolulu. Flight was completed in a specially modified B17; while Bob taught himself 'Celestial'during the flight. Does Bob Buck ring a little history 'bell' ? Passed away about 10 years back in his 90's.
Gael Arnold -1
Oh goodness, you do stereotype don't you....
CaptainFreedom 27
Lots of criticism here. They raised $500K, and died for the benefit of others. How many of us can say that?
Jesse Carroll 4
bbabis 3
To answer your question, non of us, because as far as I know, dead people don't post here. I don't think anyone is criticizing the cause or doesn't think that the Suleman family hasn't suffered a terrible tragedy and deserves our prayers for comfort. What is being criticized is the experience level and decision making shown on the trip. Sure time was tight but a VFR night departure over open water into unknown weather begs questioning.
Jesse Carroll 0
Yepper,Jack JR. "John John"> tried the same thing with the same results! on a short flight! Still a lost of inspiring men/women!
Jesse Carroll 1
Did not know that!
just adds to the stupidy of a deadly flight!
Gary Bennett 1
Not instrument rated (John John)
lol touche on my poorly worded question.
Torsten Hoff 23
From CNN:

"The plane's flight data recorder has yet to be recovered."

Ric Wernicke 7
Once again CNN demonstrates they as much about aviation as Army Ants know about the military.

May these aviators rest in peace and their families receive comfort that they followed their passions.
ric lang -6
NOT aviators! They were, at best, "pilots".
209flyboy 3
I think CNN should stick to only reporting weather, and they're not to swift at that either. They do that by looking out the open window in the studio.
KIM Christian -2
Peter Crew 21
Cmon,,lets not be to critical....RIP to both of them.....they both loved to fly!
Tony Long 6
Truly sad to have read about this, should have been a great father/son/charity/aviation story. All my thoughts are with the remaining family.
smoki 5
Been there done that twice insofar as crossing the big blue Pacific at an early age, both times in my mid-twenties, but in military tactical jets enroute to Vietnam, first time as part of a 4 plane ferrying new airplanes to replace those that had been damaged or were due for overhaul which brought on some "exciting moments" during the return as we brought back those planes that were replaced that had been patched together and stripped to the bare bones. Second time as part of a squadron transpac to join the war effort. That too had its "exciting moments." All flying was daytime VFR or so intended, none at night, but there was still brief periods of IFR enroute, during climbouts and descents and occasional buildups that had to be circumnavigated. There was no email nor phone calls and no satellite weather. Long range communications were limited to the occasional position report which had to be relayed by an accompanying or pre-positioned support plane equipped with HF. Despite all the coordinated support effort, there were still some very hazardous situations that arose during those trips which but for luck and/or the grace of God would have resulted in losses of airplanes and possibly lives.

Amelia Earhart and her experienced navigator are still the topic of circumnavigation lore and conspiracy theories after all these years. These dear and well intentioned folks were pushing the envelope way too much for their experience level and equipment. I feel for their family and friends for their loss but sadly it is not surprising all things considered especially departing at nighttime across what in all likelihood was a very dark ocean in a light single engine airplane especially if there was no weather radar coverage available. In all the intervening years since Lindbergh made his daring Atlantic solo crossing nothing has changed insofar as the hazards presented by long range oceanic crossings. Having operated at sea off of USS Boat I can say unequivocally that there is nothing darker than the ocean at night with no moon, stars etc. It is the proverbial ink bowl in which even the most experienced aviator can suffer from vertigo or find themselves suddenly in the midst of a convective buildup that couldn't be seen. RIP
Wayne Fox 4
Pilots? Aviators? To me that makes no difference I believe. The mission was one of compassion as well as the expected exuberance that completing a task and accomplishing a goal set by youth and supported by those of greater experience. It is too soon to determine the cause of the tragedy and to cast blame upon the inexperience of the pilot. My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time and I can hardly believe the composure that the sister exhibited during the press conference aired during this media clip.
blucenturion 3
Their engine quit, for fuel or whatever reason. Matt Guthmiller, age 19, left this same airport for Hilo, in a BE-36, only a week earlier, without incident. So, age and experience is not an issue. Get a grip.
Kurt Anderson 1
Are you sure it was their engine? Many different things could have caused it. Right now no one knows for sure.
'GA' across thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean is by no means routine. The event does bring recall of Cessna 310 'Mixmasters' flights to Vietnam in the 60's and the ferrying of 3-4 ship S/E Cessnas to Australia in the 70's. Similar adventurous types also boarded ships called Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.
BaronG58 2
Not 310...I think you are referring to Cessna Skymaster 337...Military O-2A
That's correct, and although under military auspices and guidance;I belive several were lost in transit. I doubt the operators of those 337's regarded the crossing as the most hazardous part of their tour, however. 'Steely'fellows they were; always amazed me with their 'out in the open' coordination of 'fast movers' that could barely keep track of their where-abouts.
joel wiley 1
Some of the remaining O-2As are flying in California for CalFIRE, spotting and leading air tankers fighting forest fires. The keep going, and going, and going,
Dave H 3
That's sad, my condolences to the family, may he rest in peace.
Malcolm Sword 3
As part of American Samoa USCG Flotilla 28,we are helping the USCG with Assistance
From Honolulu based C-130 Also in the search from Tuesday till today,Saturday,local American Samoa Government assets including tug boats,rubber rafts,fishing vessels.
We all pray we find Mr Suleman,but the seas have been rough,and windy in the last two days.The search continues with coastal watches around the island.
bbabis 4
No doubt there are old bold pilots but not many. Bravo the effort of the Sulemans but a sad outcome was more than a slight possibility.
Jesse Carroll 2
I agree Tony! Sad but true!!!!
ric lang 2
OH, I forgot.....Please give me the phone number of the avionics shop that can outfit an airplane for 10k.....apparently I've been getting fu.... all these years.
Michael Smith 2
Sad Day for the Aviation Community. Prayers go out to the family.
Jesse Carroll 3
Sad......however, didn't a young lad several years ago fly from New York to Paris? He couldn't even see out the front windshield for it had none!
chalet 2
Indeed that is what the Lone Eagle did but he was among the first to attempt that crossing but 87 years later engines still conk out but they can not be made more reliable because they would cost ten times as much and the payload on a single engine plane would be negligible.
KIM Christian 3
Many of us dream of living...
A Great story... so sorry it had a tragic ending.
May the family find peace in knowing that they were truly living their dreams !
coinflyer 2
They managed to fly more than half way around the world and were careful, conscientious pilots. I don't think experience was an issue here; after all, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan too disappeared. I suspect mechanical failure--perhaps water in the fuel. Hard to detect in a nighttime preflight check. Hats off to them for trying to do something good in the world through aviation. May they always be remembered.
don schaefer -1
The other theory is they were forced down by Japanese pilots after the military believed they witnessed military buildup on Saipan(?) by flying over/near. Executed there.

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gmcmanus 1
If only he would have known you first, you could have taught him to fly to perfection.
Whatever the cause of the accident may be,the result remains the same a father and son with a once in a lifetime dream died for something they really believed in.
Gene spanos 1
It's true what another pilot stated in this form the other day...
Below 10,000 Feet AGL we must worry about our little friends.
Just think Paluwaukee had over 81,000 events [take offs] last year.
Again it also takes approx $ 10K to retrofit an private aircraft with the
proper avionics when NextGen kick's in.... guess the hand held garmin
ric lang 1
Paluwaukee???? Do you mean PALWAUKEE, in Wheeling Il? I had an airplane based there a long time ago. As a student flying a J3 I landed there for fuel & George Preister kicked me off his airport because I asked him to prop the Cub.....You should see this airport now, I think it's called Chicago Executive
ric lang 1
Please give me the phone number of the Avionics shop that outfits airplanes for 10K!
ric lang 1
Give me the phone number of that avionics shop that can retrofit an airplane's avionics for 10K please.

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Roger Curtiss 0
"Been there-done that"
A. Earhart
The 'intestinal emptiness' of SE land pistons acting up. {Although only 20 nm out but at 300 ft.} Occurrence while 'Spotting' for a commercial sword fishing operation. In this instance we had guided the boat onto a 20 ft 'Great White' off of Pt Mugu, Calif.. Unfortunately we had drifted a half mile aft of the boats position. Although we had been in Radio Contact; the Boat's captain (onboard the plane)became 'speechless'. Fortunately after several water landing 'Checks'; the engine cleared enough to make land.
blucenturion 2
What did you say? Royal Crown?
gma92 1
ric lang 1

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Chris B -7
Horses for courses. Most GAs out there are not the right horse to try for something like this.
As much as I would like to make the effort and fly in and out of the first two airfields I ever flew out of as a 12 year old, I wouldn't dare cross the Atlantic in a single engine piston aircraft.
ric lang 1
You have the right to your opinion, but single engine piston airplanes are flown over the Atlantic regularly by a myriad of ferry services.
ric lang 0
You have the right to your opinion, but as a matter of somewhat more than academic interest, single engine piston airplanes are flown over the Atlantic regularly by ferry services.

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gma92 1
I admire the maturity of this young guy in raising so much money and doing what he loved. I think you've missed the point - he was doing it with his father. May his family find peace.
bbabis 1
Sorry, didn't know there were so many young'ns on the site8>}

My point is that activities that require high skill and/or that have dire consequences for error should not become challenges to see who can do it the youngest. Obviously, there will always be a youngest but it should happen naturally as experience is gained in learning situations.

Many years back it became a sporting game to see who could be the youngest to fly an airplane. After a 10 year old and then a 7 year old were killed along with others in their attempts, sanity once again prevailed. Those that do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
Brian Westfall -3
The father was supposed to be an experienced pilot also. What is all the hype about being youngest?
ric lang 0
The kid was a student & the old man held a private ASMEL with an instrument.

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Dennis Harper 1
Hey Matt, go to YouTube where striking a match is roundly denounced by self appointed safety monitors.
joel wiley -1
Matt, perhaps you forget the premise of the Darwin award: self removal from the gene pool prior to polluting it in a spectacular manner. 1) How can the father qualify? 2) How spectacular is this crash? Downvote #19


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