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Fossett's Plane Found
October 2, 2008 8:42 PM   Subscribe

American businessman Steve Fossett, who went missing last year after taking flight from Barron Hilton's Flying M Ranch (previously and previously), and was declared dead last February, had left many questions unanswered, including the possibility that he faked his own death. However, remains of his plane have just been found.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing (48 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
..and partial remains of Steve Fossett (which have not officially be verified as belonging to Steve).
posted by stbalbach at 8:45 PM on October 2, 2008


RIP, adventuring adventurer.
posted by item at 8:49 PM on October 2, 2008


Interesting thing is that his name is reall James Stephen Fossett, so that's what it said on his ID. When the hiker found it, he didn't even realize who it was until he showed it to some buddies.
posted by smackfu at 8:56 PM on October 2, 2008


I didn't know much about Steve Fossett until he disappeared but I find his life story to be an inspiration. I've often though the world needs more adventurers...
posted by Deep Dish at 9:35 PM on October 2, 2008


Steve Fosset was famous in his own right including, but not limited, to his status as holder of a number of world records in flying. The search for his plane after his disappearance also dominated the national news for several days, including the then-unprecedented use of Google Earth high-resolution pictures with Amazon's Mechanical Turk to try and locate the aircraft (thank you Wikipedia for jogging my memory). He wasn't famous in just a Paris Hilton sort of way.

Implying that he was famous because he was a rich white guy is rather like implying that Charles Lindbergh was famous for being a rich white guy.
posted by mdevore at 10:09 PM on October 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


That's silly - everyone knows Lindbergh was most famous for having an innocent German-born carpenter framed for his baby's mysterious death.
posted by item at 10:15 PM on October 2, 2008 [6 favorites]


Well, here's the thing. Lots of brown people die every day. Most of them can't afford planes.

I'm sure it'll be nice for his family to get closure, though.
posted by Eideteker at 10:15 PM on October 2, 2008


Fossett was a personal hero of mine especially for his ballooning exploits. I put in a fair number of hours on the Mechanical Turk looking at satellite photography, but apparently the wreck location was never within the search grid.

When the first report of a bag with ID and money came out it sounded to me like an implication he had faked it, so in a way I'm glad he really didn't. He died doing something he loved.

I wonder if they'll be able to determine why he crashed -- for instance, a medical issue.
posted by dhartung at 10:16 PM on October 2, 2008


One dead white guy. But he was rich! So it's important.

Adventuring is expensive and he had the money as well as the guts to do it. He was fortunate enough to be able to do what many people only wish they could. I don't begrudge someone for making no excuses to live out his dreams.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 10:17 PM on October 2, 2008


So my intentions are not mistaken, but may sympathies go out to Fossett's family and, as was said above, hopefully their healing process can reach a new stage with this news.
posted by item at 10:21 PM on October 2, 2008


.
posted by finite at 10:21 PM on October 2, 2008


Lots of brown people die every day. Most of them can't afford planes.

Not to mention the $5 membership fee and an internet connection to share their fauxtrage on Metafilter.
posted by dhammond at 10:22 PM on October 2, 2008 [8 favorites]


Lots of brown people die every day. Most of them can't afford planes.

None of the dead white people I know could afford planes ... except one, and he was German.
posted by philip-random at 10:26 PM on October 2, 2008


Not to be gruesome, but is the crash location visible on Earth now? In other words, had the location been within the grid, would it have been recognized?
posted by maxwelton at 10:32 PM on October 2, 2008


When the first report of a bag with ID and money came out it sounded to me like an implication he had faked it, so in a way I'm glad he really didn't.

But don't you see? He planted the bag. And it's also clear he had a body stashed on the plane when he took off. Upon arriving at a planned spot, he parachuted out and let the plane crash in the mountains while he hiked out. Where is he now? Who knows?

Seriously though, crashing into a mountain is a pretty shitty way to die.
posted by puke & cry at 10:37 PM on October 2, 2008


The first thing I thought when I heard this, was maybe he pulled a Krusty.
posted by sgrass at 10:39 PM on October 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Seriously though, crashing into a mountain is a pretty shitty way to die.

There's always the chance that he died of something before impact, like a heart attack or choking on a pig piece of ham fat.
posted by item at 10:42 PM on October 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seriously though, crashing into a mountain is a pretty shitty way to die.

I'm guessing he died of some kind of medical complication (heart attack / stroke) before he hit the ground. A guy like him doesn't really crash planes all that easily. Its probably 50/50 engine failure / body failure, but we'll probably never know.

.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:43 PM on October 2, 2008


er, big.
posted by item at 10:44 PM on October 2, 2008


Shit yeah. And I did it without mentioning S— ...you know who.
posted by Eideteker at 10:45 PM on October 2, 2008


Lots of brown people die every day. Most of them can't afford planes.

Yes, and I expect to one day be a non-plane owning, white guy buried in a forgotten grave. I am not terribly bitter about it.

I am also looking forward to receiving my newsletters from VSO, Greenpeace and Amnesty International to see how far your wise and enlightened discourse has elevated the quality of life in the developing world. Truly, the humanitarian work you have carried out in this thread is an inspiration to generations both alive and unborn.

You sir, I must say have also suffered an injustice by the untimely passing of Mr. Fossett for it is truly a shame that the Nobel Prize Committee is so behind the times, that it will not be possible to properly recognize your contributions to sustainable international development.

I also owe you deepest thanks for the light you have cast on my own appalling behavior in this thread - since the mere passing of one of history's greatest adventurers has distracted me from the struggle against social, economic, and environmental justice. I beg that you will forgive me this moral lapse and know that I will be a better man because of your teachings.
posted by Deep Dish at 11:11 PM on October 2, 2008 [15 favorites]


since the mere passing of one of history's greatest adventurers has distracted me from the struggle

One of history's greatest adventurers. Do you really believe that? Really? Wowza.
posted by item at 11:34 PM on October 2, 2008


A guy like him doesn't really crash planes all that easily.

Yeah they do. I've spent a lot of time in bush planes/helicopters with more experienced pilots and those guys DO crash a lot. A not inconsiderable amount of that time was spent saying things like "plane! plane! PLANE AT $%^&ing 10 O'CLOCK!!!", "dude your tail rotor is not going to clear that tree", "what do you mean that thing is loaded?!?!", "did we just land on a floating bog? we're sinking." and "my door just fell off".

He flew into a big ass mountain in the fog. It happens a lot.
posted by fshgrl at 11:38 PM on October 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


One of history's greatest adventurers. Do you really believe that? Really? Wowza.

Okay, I was laying it on thick... but I thought of Edmund Hillary... he's now dead.. then you think of Neil Armstrong.. he's very old... The "Pioneer spirit" was one of the driving forces of Western Civilization and the people who displayed it in the 20th century are now leaving us.
posted by Deep Dish at 11:44 PM on October 2, 2008


So if he'd been a rich brown adventurer it would have been OK? That's good to know.
posted by A189Nut at 12:02 AM on October 3, 2008


Okay, I was laying it on thick...

While Fossett was spreading it thin.

What really bothers me about this story is that I keep mixing him up in my mind with Bob Fosse, so I picture this great jazz dancer flying a plane into a mountain.

And it's also clear he had a body stashed on the plane when he took off.

DNA testing will reveal that the remains were his. What then? He had a secret identical twin or a clone killed and left in the wreck?

Lots of brown people die every day. Most of them can't afford planes.

And that's precisely why I blame lots of brown people for this accident. If lots of brown people had only worked harder, they could have afforded planes in which to die every day. They also could have afforded real estate and light bulbs, and they could have settled that mountain and built it into a shining metropolis, a city on a hill. It wouldn't have been a dark mountain in a dark sky that night, it would have been a beacon of light to all of this lost planet's lost airmen.

Lots of white people, too, mind you. I blame all of the unfamous dead white people for dying unfamous and white every day. Where were they when Bob Fosse circumnavigated the globe in the gondola (O solo flighto!) of a balloon?
posted by pracowity at 12:04 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Being rich and white aside, he did what he wanted with his life and accomplished a lot, he set records and pushed limits and I think that is what he deserves to be recognized for, not for his skin color or the amount of money in his account.

.

Above the planet on a wing and a prayer,
My grubby halo, a vapor trail in the empty air,
Across the clouds I see my shadow fly
Out of the corner of my watering eye
A dream unthreatened by the morning light
Could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

posted by lilkeith07 at 12:10 AM on October 3, 2008


He set records. Whoop de doo.

How did he make his money?
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 12:22 AM on October 3, 2008


Hey Eideteker, is it a lot of work to become this big a fuckhead, or do you have to work at it? Or is shitting up this thread more the sort of thing you do when you relaise you're basically a worthless gnat on the arse of history, and you need to lash out to somehow feel better about what an insignificant speck you are?

It's a shame Fosset has died but, really, he got to do a hell of a lot of stuff he loved to do; I imagine it's some consolation to his friends and family that he died with his boots on.
posted by rodgerd at 12:22 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


One of history's greatest adventurers. Do you really believe that? Really? Wowza.

Hell yes he was. Do you realize how many times he cheated death?
* 115 new world records or world firsts, holding current official World Records in 5 sports
* first solo balloon circumnaviation of the Earth
* first solo non-stop airplane circumnavigation of the Earth
* longest non-stop flight in aviation history (41,000 miles)
* first balloon crossings of the continents of Asia, Africa, Europe and South America, and the first ocean crossings of the South Atlantic, South Pacific and Indian Oceans.
* sailed across the Atlantic, and around the world in record time (this includes the hazardous Cape Horn passage)
* more including completing the Iditarod, the Ironman Challenge, swimming the English Channel, driving Le Mans, and receiving over 20 awards from international societies

I think "adventurer" is the right word here. He wasn't an explorer, but he certainly put his life at risk merely to do something no one had done before or as fast. The sheer number of different things at which he attempted and excelled is amazing even if he had no records.
posted by dhartung at 12:23 AM on October 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


Mabuse: Chicago options market.
posted by dhartung at 12:23 AM on October 3, 2008


"He flew into a big ass mountain in the fog."

The reports I have read describe the day as having "perfect flying weather".
posted by Manjusri at 1:57 AM on October 3, 2008


Six other crashed planes were found during the search for his. I am glad those medium rich families finally got closure.
posted by Bitter soylent at 2:03 AM on October 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


until you can give me a list of a few hundred indigenous people he killed or total the acreage he claimed for his country, i am not going to accept this successful white adventurer bullshit.
posted by kitchenrat at 5:55 AM on October 3, 2008


Lots of brown people die every day. Most of them can't afford planes.

They should move to Alaska. The "common man" "middle-class" family can afford a plane up there, I hear.
posted by inigo2 at 5:55 AM on October 3, 2008


And it's also clear he had a body stashed on the plane when he took off.
-------
DNA testing will reveal that the remains were his. What then? He had a secret identical twin or a clone killed and left in the wreck?


Irony has crashed into a mountain.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:57 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


[a few comments removed -- early "so what??" threadshitting isn't really a great way to not derail FPPs - metatalk is always your option.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:12 AM on October 3, 2008


Has there been any explanation about why this wreckage wasn't discovered during the long search for him when he went missing? Was it outside the search area? Or is the area so dense that the wreckage was too hard to see from above?
posted by nightwood at 6:53 AM on October 3, 2008


Was it outside the search area? Or is the area so dense that the wreckage was too hard to see from above?

Reports I've seen said it was because the area is heavily forrested. Also, the mountains around there are pretty...extreme in their topographical signature. A whole group of them is called the Minarets (warning: link goes to LARGE image).
posted by LionIndex at 7:39 AM on October 3, 2008


Perhaps they will find out what became of Jim Gray next.
posted by TedW at 8:34 AM on October 3, 2008


The Google Earth blog has a kmz of the estimated crash location.. If the location is correct the crash is above the tree-line. I've done a lot of backpacking around the lakes east of there and, as LionIndex said, the terrain is quite rugged. With as wide a search area as they were working with, I'm not surprised it was missed.
posted by Manjusri at 8:55 AM on October 3, 2008


There have been two separate (private) groups to set out in search of his remains. The mountainous terrain in that region is incredibly difficult to navigate. Granite and shale steep cliffs give way to densely forested, steep foothills. Search and Rescue crews spent weeks searching for him, in addition to his friends and family who never gave up. Yes, he may have been a rich, white guy, but he was the kind of rich, white guy who gave back to his community and relished life to the fullest possible extent. If all rich white guys were like Steve Fossett, and bothered "give back" by teaching young people values like hard work, perseverance, and self-reliance, then maybe not everyone would grow up to be the rich, white guy that everyone loves to hate. Steve Fossett was a brilliant businessman and a compassionate philanthropist whose work with the Boy Scouts has no doubt enriched the lives of many people on this board. Just because someone is rich, old, and white, doesn't mean that they are bad people.
posted by Geekyblonde at 8:57 AM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The NTSB report is still preliminary and does not include the latest recovery, but it'll be updated within a couple of weeks I bet.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:25 AM on October 3, 2008


I lied, there's a short blurb at the top that the plane was recovered.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:28 AM on October 3, 2008


I'm guessing chances for finding someone lost at sea are less.
posted by chickaboo at 12:14 PM on October 3, 2008


A pilot friend of Fossett familiar with the area believes that the intense downdrafts and thermals from the rugged terrain are to blame. Mountain flying is especially challenging due to invisible dangers like mountain wave.
posted by exogenous at 1:47 PM on October 3, 2008


Steve Fosset made his money in the options markets. I traded with Steve on the CBOE. Quite frankly, I did not like the guy, but he had many on the floor who did. He helped train and back financially many many kids (22-25 year olds) risking his own money on their future. He was a premium seller taking inordinate amounts of risk, but in the end, he was right in a way only the floor trading world determines right, he made lots and lots of money. Funny thing is that I do not view him as a risk taker in his flying exploits. He appeared to do massive amounts of preparation prior to his adventures. He seemed to build in safety features into his aircraft. Sometimes all the preparation, all the good work helping others start careers, all the experience means shit when, for whatever reason, you run into a situation beyond your control and fly into the side of a mountain.

.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:47 PM on October 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


*sigh*

Yeah, he was rich.
But not all pilots, not all personal plane owners are rich.

There are hundreds of small airfields (and some plain old fields) where the poor pilots are. Maybe not poor in a brown people sort of way, but poor in the american sense. If you had your training/fuel paid for or achieved before 1995, all you'd have to pay is about $20,000 for a perfectly maintained name-brand single-engine 4 seater. Yeah, about as much as a cheap new car.

One way in which America did well legislating a personal freedom.
posted by kid_twist at 1:32 PM on October 5, 2008


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