Russell M. Nelson’s Flaming Spiral Dive Miracle


I remember vividly an experience I had as a passenger in a small two-propeller airplane. One of its engines suddenly burst open and caught on fire. The propeller of the flaming engine was starkly stilled. As we plummeted in a steep spiral dive toward the earth, I expected to die. Some of the passengers screamed in hysterical panic. Miraculously, the precipitous dive extinguished the flames. Then, by starting up the other engine, the pilot was able to stabilize the plane and bring us down safely.

Doors of Death, Russell M. Nelson, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, General Conference Address, April 1992

Attention Billy L Abram

Per telephone conversation this date this is additional information on safety and compliance record summary of Sky West Airlines which we provided to you Jan 6 1977 Sky West Airlines has had 3 engine failures from Oct 17 1976 through Nov 24 1976 First incident involved Cessna 210 N30796 on Oct 17 1976 Ferry flight conducted under part 91 Investigation revealed exhaust valve failure Total time on engine 1270 hours No injuries to pilot No damage to aircraft Second incident occurred Nov 11 1976 involving Piper PA 31 N74985 Pilot experienced rough engine on scheduled flight between Salt Lake City and St George 3 passengers on board Engine was feathered and precautionary landing made at Delta Utah per instructions company manual Investigation revealed cylinder base studs sheered As result of occurrence Sky West changed maintenance procedures by checking torque studs at each 100 hour inspection No damage to aircraft No injuries to crew or passengers Third incident occurred on Nov 24 1976 involving Cessna 206 N72161 Ferry flight No passengers or cargo on board After takeoff from St George Utah pilot heard loud bang and engine stopped Made emergency landing one mile south of St George No injuries to crew or damage to aircraft Investigation revealed failure of crankshaft counter weight retaining pin After third incident Salt Lake City Gado made an indepth investigation of engine failures and maintenance practices of airline Engine failures not related even though they occurred in short timeframe No deficiencies found in maintenance practices of carrier After second incident a Lycoming service representative schooled all pilots on proper operation of Lycoming engines Found that company was operating engines in accordance with Lycoming’s recommendations All occurrences were reported on SDR’s No violations filed as result of investigations.

Civil Aeronautics Board Reports, Volume 73, By United States. Civil Aeronautics Board · 1977.
Page 1090, Sky West Airlines, Incident on November 11, 1976.

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