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NTSB Says a Downdraft Killed Steve Fossett 101

jd writes "The National Transportation Safety Board has now released the text of its examination (full narrative available) into the crash of Steve Fossett's aircraft on Sept 3rd, 2007. It concludes that downdrafts were the likely cause of the crash, dragging the plane into the mountain with such force that, even at full power, it would have been impossible to escape the collision. Pilots experienced in the area report that those winds can rip the wings off aircraft; and Mark Twain remarked that they could roll up a tin house 'like sheet music.' One must wonder why such a skilled aviator was taking a gamble with such hostile conditions, given that he was looking for a flat stretch of land to race cars on, but that is one mystery we shall probably never know the answer to."

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing