Note the word completed

CARDIFF City footballer Emiliano Sala is feared dead after his plane went missing over the Channel Islands last night.

Sala, 28, was onboard the Piper Malibu plane with one other person, when it lost contact at 8.30pm near the Casquets lighthouse, off Alderney.

Air Traffic Control confirmed the plane was travelling from Nantes in Western France to Cardiff when it vanished.

It followed severe weather warnings about snow and ice issued across France.

The Argentine footballer was believed to be travelling back from France after completing his £15million club-record transfer from Nantes to Premier League strugglers Cardiff City FC.

Cardiff’s out that £15 million then.

22 thoughts on “Note the word completed”

  1. A long oversea flight in a single-engine light aircraft?
    – Strike 1
    At night?
    – Strike 2
    In winter, with bad weather forecast and freezing conditions?
    – Strike 3 and out.
    What on earth was the footballer, his manager/minder and most especially, the pilot thinking off?This was reckless, foolhardy, insane. The outcome wasnt just possible, it was almost inevitable. Freezing conditions, ice on the wings, blocking carb, oh, it’s flying like a breezeblock. Bye.

    A sensible pilot would have stayed overland with the bare minimum of sea crossings. You can dead stick into a field and walk out, you cannot dead stick into rough seas, in winter, and survive.

    Actually, a true pilot would have said “Not tonight. Wait till daylight, or take the train”.

    Unless the plane dived below the radar, and….make a football-themed thriller maybe. Good read for a holiday flight.

  2. I flew to and from Jersey in a turbo prop in Autumn once.

    The periodic explosive noises as the ice sheered off what the pilot told us was the propeller was alarming and this was not in winter.

  3. “A long oversea flight in a single-engine light aircraft?”

    According to the PPRuNe forum, Guernsey police quote it as being a single turbine powered version, which would have de-icing boots fitted, so flight in known icing conditions (dependent on the severity) isn’t necessarily problematic. But making this flight via a mainly overland routing has two downsides: 1) much greater distance and time, 2) more congested air space, and air-traffic control work – particularly for a single pilot. Even if a “sensible” pilot says “No” there will always be one prepared to take a risk, so it seems that this was a penny pinching decision. And sadly, there isn’t much chance of “Deadsticking” a fast single into a field, at night, and walking away…

  4. Pics on Wikipedia suggest the a/c type had the right icing kit, but yes, a dogleg over Cherbourg to IOW would have been better.

  5. But making this flight via a mainly overland routing has two downsides:
    The upside is staying alive.

    And yes, I have flown a single engine light aircraft over the sea outbound from Alderney. It was a nice sunny day in August and I didn’t like it one bit until I was over land again. Old Bold Pilots, and all that.

    Grown adults. Need to be responsible.

  6. BraveFart said:
    “I flew to and from Jersey in a turbo prop in Autumn once.”

    When I first started working out in Jersey, they still sometimes used the Trislanders on the flights from England. Not turboprops but piston engines with propellers; it sounded like they’d bolted a ceiling fan onto a Cortina engine, and I don’t think it was much more sophisticated than that. The emergency exit was climbing over the seat in front, once the geriatric sat in it had escaped. They were scary.

  7. Richard: Yes, I remember them well, but the Trislanders had 3 engines, and flew only in daylight (or dusk).

    Yep, my comment on the footballer was tongue-in-cheek: in my original comment I was going to put manager/minder/responsible-adult.

    But the intent remains: as DW says, there’s always a pilot/boat cap’n with a madness, desperate need or death wish to have ‘go-itis’. The passenger makes the decision to trust them with their lives. The passenger is responsible for that decision.
    It’s sad (athough I know nothing about fotoball) for these poeple to have died like this. But it was rather tempting fate.

  8. @ Tim the Coder – Even if they routed directly over the narrowest part of the channel it’s still 22 miles, and to keep dry you would need to be at a sufficient height to glide clear (and find a suitable forced landing spot) if the “Donk” quits. Only those “power” pilots who’ve actually experienced a genuine engine failure realise how much quicker they will come down compared to the “simulated” (i.e. engine idling) training they carried out many years before.The statistics show that most of them end up crashing short of the runway, or chosen field…

    There is also the aspect of fuel endurance – the “safer” route is more than twice as long, compared to straight across the water, and at the very least would have cost double for fuel and hourly rental charge alone. Being able to complete a trip without re-fueling en-route is another factor the pilot will frequently have to consider.

    The P&W PT-6 is one of the most reliable small turbines around – this factor alone, humans being what they are, will inevitably lead to a decision that a route over the water is hardly more risky than going overland. That’s not an excuse, but just pointing out the considerable pressure than many commercial pilots are under.

    “It sounded like they’d bolted a ceiling fan onto a Cortina engine, and I don’t think it was much more sophisticated than that” Yes, the Islander was designed as an aerial “Jeep”, and many are still working hard in out of the way places, years after they were built. I’ve flown in a twin Islander, but compare their stalling speed to that of the Malibu, and I know which one I would rather put into a field in an emergency.

    “Need to be responsible”

    Absolutely, but there’s always those willing to take a risk. Sadly, this tradgety would appear to be one of those..

  9. “but yes, a dogleg over Cherbourg to IOW would have been better.”

    Cherbourg to IoW is roughly same as Alderney – to Portland. I wouldn’t fancy trying to find an emergency landing site on either in the pitch black.

  10. Is this a scam?
    – Cardiff FC pays £15m to Nantes FC, and presumably some to Sala;
    – Sala goes missing, wreckage is never found;
    – Sala’s “twin brother” signs for Nantes FC.

    I think they did something similar in ‘Allo ‘Allo.

  11. @Dave Ward January 22, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Re: PPRuNe

    Do they have plane’s reg?

    Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A – piston
    Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42A – turboprop
    JetPROP DLX aftermarket turbine engine conversion

  12. @Pcar – bearing in mind that PPRuNe is the pilots RUMOUR network, nothing (yet) is certain. However this thread: seems to have the most information. Malibu N264DB is being suggested as the possible aircraft involved, and if so “It’s an entry-level, piston-powered Malibu 310P (Continental TSIO-520)”. Note the “I” means fuel injected, so carb icing isn’t going to be a factor, but whether it had airframe de-icing is another matter. I think we’ll have to wait for official confirmation.

  13. The news here had a voice message from Emiliano this morning.

    Basically he said that the plane seemed to be falling to pieces and he was terrified.


    And yes Boroboy, maybe we are being a little ‘cavalier’ on this thread.

  14. Pal of mine works Air Traffic Control on Jersey. He’s an ex-bootneck, I wonder if he was naked in a bar when he was supposed to be sat at the radar screen?

  15. Wales Online has a picture of what they say is the actual plane, adding that it is held by a shell company to hide name of owner (related to US tax). I hear a (strong) rumour that the actual owner is Mehmet Dalman, Chairman of Cardiff.

  16. The rumour on PPRuNe is (was last night) that the plane is owned by the father of Sala’s agent. The booking seems tohave been via an online sort of AirBnB for private flights, allowing the carriage of passengers on a simple private pilots licence with the passenger and owner ‘sharing’ costs and without having to meet all the safety standards of a ‘proper’ air charter. Why someone on (presumably) £100+k a week would need to cut costs in this way is anyone’s guess.

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