A tragic and shocking video recently surfaced across social media showing a father and son duo flying a private propeller plane in Brazil. The video showed the father drinking a bottle of beer as he recorded his 11-year-old son piloting the aircraft.
This video is believed to have been shot shortly before the aircraft went down, and both occupants tragically lost their lives in the incident.
On July 29th, 2023, 42-year-old Brazilian rancher Garon Maia and his 11-year-old son took off from a family farm in Nova Conquista, located in the Brazilian state of Rondônia. They were looking to fly to Campo Grande in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
It was in Campo Grande where Maia's son attended school and resided with his mother.
En route, the duo made a pit stop in Vilhena to refuel. It's estimated that the second leg from Vilhena to Campo Grande would have taken around 15 minutes.
Sadly, the duo's aircraft, a private Beechcraft Baron 58, disappeared from radar about five minutes after the plane took off from Vilhena.
The plane is reported to have crashed in a forest somewhere along the border between the states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso do Sul.
Soon after the incident, a video surfaced showing Maia and his son onboard the aircraft. In the video, the 42-year-old Maia is seen casually drinking a bottle of beer - not flying the aircraft.
Instead, the video clearly shows Maia giving instructions to his son on how to fly the plane. He is heard telling his son in Portuguese, "Hand on the lever, hand on the lever. Keep your hand there and check the speed."
Brazilian law stipulates that a person must be over the age of 18 years to legally fly an airplane. Furthermore, the pilot must be registered with the country's Agência Nacional de Aviaçāo Civil (National Civil Aviation Agency).
In this case, Maia's 11-year-old son who was flying the aircraft was neither old enough to fly the plane, nor was he registered with ANAC.
Minors in the Cockpit
Flying an aircraft is no light matter. It goes without saying that operating a plane is far different than driving a car. There are far more procedures and safety matters to consider whilst flying a plane.
Unfortunately, this tragic incident involving Mr. Maia and his son is not the first time a fatal aircraft accident has occurred thanks to the minor being in control.
Perhaps the most notable instance involving this scenario was the shocking crash of Aeroflot Flight 593 back in 1994.
In this case, the relief captain of the Airbus A310, against regulations, allowed his children into the cockpit while the plane was flying on autopilot.
Just minutes after the relief captain's son occupied the pilot's seat, he partially disengaged the autopilot which later led the autopilot to disengage completely.
This caused the A310 to roll into a steep bank and almost-vertical dive. Even though the pilots were able to level the aircraft, overcorrections by the First Officer caused the plane to stall and enter a spin, later crashing into a mountain range.
This scenario shows the immense risk involved in allowing an inexperienced minor to take control of an aircraft. While it can definitely serve as an unforgettable bonding moment, especially between a parent and their child, history has shown that the responsibility of operating a plane should always sit with the registered and experienced pilot.
The AeroXplorer Team extends its condolences to the family of Mr. Maia and his son.
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