>I don't believe this is true; he got his pilot's license about a
>year ago and did not have an instructor in the plane. I don't
>know whether he had any foot problems.
He was reportedly recovering from a broken foot and may have been wearing a light cast.
>However he was a relatively low time pilot (perhaps 200 hours) and
>night flight over the ocean is always somewhat risky due to the
>lack of visual references, especially on a moonless night.
>Apparently there was considerable haze as well. Under these
>circumstances you basically need to be flying on instruments, and
>it has been shown many times that VFR pilots are often unable to
>do so safely. He was also flying a high performance airplane he'd
>only owned for two months. In this kind of plane you have to stay
>abreast of the situation or things get out of control very
>quickly. The most plausible explanation at this point is a loss
>of positional awareness leading to a stall/spin from which he
>was unable to recover.
You have hit this nail on the head, he was not IFR qualified, and undertook a night flight over the ocean, vertigo city.....
>I wonder if we could interpret the Kennedy "curse" in terms of
>risk seeking behavior. A number of the deaths have involved at
>least somewhat risky behavior, like general aviation, skiing,
>boating. Of course millions of people fly, ski and boat every
>year without being killed, but perhaps the Kennedys push the
>envelope when they participate in these activities.
Yes, they do push the envelope. Michael was killed while tossing a football and skiing, Ted almost while drinking and driving, and now John apparently while flying at night over the ocean while not being IFR qualified. Engaging in numerous risk taking simply increases's the odds of trouble.
It was interesting to note Caroline was white water rafting at the time....
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Reading: Easy Living by Terence Conran