Episodes

Mormonism LIVE: 033: President Nelson’s Flight of Death

Today We explore a story President Nelson has told for years about a flight he was on in the 1970’s. He reports the plane’s engine exploding, the wing catching fire, a death spiral by the plane, the chaos aboard, and the plane’s landing in a farmer’s field. This story had many questioning the truthfulness of his account but there was never a smoking gun to get to the truth of the matter………. until now.

WHERE PRESIDENT NELSON OR OTHERS HAVE TOLD THE STORY

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1992/05/doors-of-death?lang=eng

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/president-nelson-argentina-2019

https://www.deseret.com/faith/2021/3/28/22355277/president-nelson-invites-all-to-feel-the-peace-and-hope-of-easter-by-focusing-on-the-savior

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=EMwKxmTLaCs&ab_channel=TheChurchofJesusChristofLatter-daySaints

Russell M. Nelson, From Heart to Heart: An Autobiography (Salt Lake City: Nelson, 1979)

Russell M. Nelson: Father, Surgeon, Apostle – Spencer J Condie: Author

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/friend/1994/06/most-important?lang=eng Russell M. Nelson, The Gateway We Call Death (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995)

https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2004-09-18/gospel-principles-vital-to-correct-living-94995

https://www.deseret.com/2006/4/15/19948411/death-is-part-of-life-ex-surgeon-says

https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2018-09-03/president-nelson-delivers-historic-message-to-dominican-latter-day-saints-in-spanish-8931

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/president-nelson-shares-5-lessons-life-has-taught-me-with-49000-in-safeco-field?lang=eng

https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2018-10-26/president-nelson-finds-church-thriving-in-uruguay-thanks-to-multiple-generations-of-members-missionaries-156122

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/president-nelson-argentina-2019

THE CLAIMS PRESIDENT NELSON HAS MADE THAT WERE RED FLAGS

1.) One Engine on a small Two Engine plane Exploded.
2.) Said Engine caught fire.
3.) In the Explosion flammable material was spread to the plane and the plane itself was on fire.
4.) The plane did a “Death Spiral” which extinguished the fire
5.) The Pilot “turned on the Other Engine”
6.) The plane landed in a “Farmer’s Field”

THE FACTS THAT ALLOWED OTHERS TO NARROW WHAT TO LOOK FOR

1.) The Date of the flight was reported as November 12, 1976
2.) He was flying from SLC to St. George to attend the inauguration of W. Rolfe Kerr as the president of Dixie College.
3.) Anytime a plane incurs a malfunction or this is a mechanical flight issue or pilot error the Law requires such to be recorded. The Explosion would necessitate a publicly available recorded log report. The plane on fire The Explosion would necessitate a publicly available recorded log report. The Death Spiral The Explosion would necessitate a publicly available recorded log report. The landing in a Farmer’s Field The Explosion would necessitate a publicly available recorded log report.

IF THE STORY OCCURRED THE WAY PRESIDENT NELSON HAS REPORTED, THERE ABSOLUTELY WOULD BE A REPORT THAT IS PUBLICLY AVAILABLE. MOST FABRICATIONS HINGE ON SOME GRAIN OF TRUTH, SO MANY IN THE POST-MORMON COMMUNITY WENT INTO DETECTIVE MODE.

THE FLIGHT REPORT FOR THIS FLIGHT WAS FINALLY LOCATED (IT WAS DIFFICULT TO FIN DUE TO THE MUNDANE ISSUES INCURRED THAT SEEMINGLY CONTRADICT NELSON’S STORY )



https://www.google.com/books/edition/_/wNa3AAAAIAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&pg=PA1090&dq=skywest+incidents+1976

1.) Engine never exploded and continued to run though rough
2.) There was no Engine Fire.
3.) The Plane itself was never on fire
4.) The Other Engine was never off
4.) The plane made a “Precautionary landing at the airport in Delta Utah and not a farmer’s field
5.) There are other smaller issues with number of passengers, length of flight, cutting fuel line to both engines, and the date of the flight but we grant some benefit of the doubt for distorted memory.

If the Church or its defenders want to claim the conclusion that this flight one day earlier is NOT the flight President Nelson is speaking about, then the burden of proof is on them to provide the evidence. To claim there was another “SKY WEST” flight also going from SLC TO SAINT GEORGE” that had “WORSE ISSUES” “ONE DAY LATER”, then provide the “MANDATORY PUBLICLY AVAILABLE FLIGHT REPORT” of said flight. Without such, said conclusion by the defenders would require more conjecture and allowances.


The Plane believed to be the One Nelson rode that day

Play

4 thoughts on “Mormonism LIVE: 033: President Nelson’s Flight of Death

  1. Bill and RFM,
    I enjoyed the recent episode of Pres. Nelson’s airplane story. I know that airplane. I used to work for Skywest as a mechanic. I was hired in 1978, two years after the incident, but I can attest that there was no record of this kind of damage in the aircraft records. When I worked at Skywest the company had five Navajos. We mechanics knew these five airplanes pretty well. If there had been a death spiral we it would be well known. There are some pretty interesting stories regarding these planes but this story of Pres. Nelson’s was not one of them. Keep up the good work.

  2. Do you have episodes or sources concerning what was mentioned towards the end of the podcast regarding lies by Elder Holland, the building bought from the Ballards by the church, Elder Cook in the hospital, And Thomas Monson Jr.?

  3. From another message board:

    I am a pilot and flight instructor with 35 years experience. The Piper PA-31 Navajo is a small twin-engine airplane that carries 6 to 8 people including the pilot. The interior is about the size of a small mini-van. Everyone can see the pilot up front and both engines out the windows. The engines are piston engines, not jets.
    One engine experienced a cylinder failure. On an air-cooled engine, the cylinders are individual assemblies attached to the crank case (very different from a car engine, where everything is buried inside the engine block). If one fails, it can be quite spectacular as the burning fuel/air mixture escapes and the now-unbalanced engine begins shaking violently.
    Standard procedure:
    1) Shut down the bad engine and feather the propeller (turn the blades into the wind to minimize drag). This causes the propeller to stop spinning. The fuel would also be shut off so as to not feed the fire.
    2) Descend as quickly as possible to land, even if not at an airport. Better to land in a field than to burn up in the air. The emergency descent involves pulling the throttle on the good engine back to idle (it is NOT shut down), banking the airplane, and pushing the nose down to get as much airspeed as possible. This creates a spiraling descent. (Descending rapidly in a straight line “unloads” the wings, which could cause severe airframe damage if the wings were suddenly “loaded” by turbulence.) This rapid descent also has the benefit of possibly “blowing out” the fire (much like blowing out a candle).
    3) Near the ground, roll out of the dive, level out, let the airplane slow down, and bring the power back up on the good engine to keep the airplane flying. If still burning, land wherever possible and evacuate. If the fire is out, proceed to the nearest airport or suitable landing site.
    The passengers were never about to die, and there was no miracle recovery from the dive. The pilot knew the outcome from the start. Every multiengine pilot is trained to do this. It’s published in countless manuals and training materials. I teach this to my multiengine students frequently. The “emergency descent” is a wild ride as the view out the front window looks like you’re pointing straight towards the ground (really only about 30* nose down) and the airspeed shoots up into the “yellow arc” on the airspeed indicator (the “caution zone”).
    But Pres. Nelson wasn’t describing what the pilot was doing, he was describing the emotional perception of the naive passengers, whose reaction apparently ranged from terrified to hysterical. The passengers perceived that one engine had exploded, that the other had been shut down, that the airplane was falling uncontrolled out of the sky, that they were going to die, and that they miraculously recovered. No embellishment, just a story about an emotional experience. If I put a passenger in the back of an airplane and demonstrated an emergency descent without telling them, they would probably have a similar reaction, even without the spectacular engine failure.
    As a side note, for an incident like this, the CAB / FAA / NTSB would not have sent anyone to investigate. They would have merely gathered information from the mechanic who inspected the airplane, the pilot, and the owner/operator. Engine failures in flight, with no injuries or airframe damage, are a dime a dozen and not worth investigating.

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