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Pilot Mike Patey offers cautionary tale after crashing his Draco

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 17, 2019

A screenshot of the crashed Draco belonging to Mike Patey from the YouTube video. (Mike Patey/YouTube)
A screenshot of the crashed Draco belonging to Mike Patey from the YouTube video. (Mike Patey/YouTube)

A United States pilot has offered a cautionary tale about what can happen when an aircraft is flown beyond its limits and bad choices are made.

The pilot, Mike Patey, was at the controls of his heavily-modified Draco with his wife and friend as passengers at Reno-Stead Airport when the aircraft came off the runway over during an attempted takeoff in a cross-wind.

While the aircraft was destroyed, Patey and his two passengers emerged unhurt from the crash, which was captured on video by the High Alpha Airshows Instagram account.


In a video posted on his YouTube channel moments after the accident, Patey said he was “still a little dusty and dirty where I crawled out through a door that had exploded off the plane when I first hit”.


He also took full responsibility for the incident and described it as “one of the worst days of my life”, adding that it “could have been a whole lot worse”.

“I just totalled my baby Draco in the most stupidest possible way,” Patey said. “I am going to be really hurting about this day for a long time so I hope you guys learn from this.”

“Dang it, never fly beyond the aircraft’s limits, never fly beyond your own, certainly never fly beyond both.

“I screwed up. Made some bad choices. As a result I risked family and friend.”

Patey said when he hit the power and took off, everything felt good.

However, things started to go awry when a bump of wind lifted the left wing, prompting Patey to go “full left aileron” and kick the rudder to help straighten the aircraft out.

Then, Patey lost control when a second bump of wind was sufficient to lift the wing further and take the single-engine aircraft off the runway.

“I was a big giant kite going for a ride and I had no control left,” Patey said.

“I had control when I made the first mistake to not wait out a little bit longer. I had control when I made the second mistake and got on the runway and felt it completely compressing my right suspension trying to lift my wing.

“I had control all the way to there and once I got airborne and took that second wind bump of wind that turned me 90 degrees to the wind I was along for the ride.”

Patey said he hoped other pilots would learn the incident.

“This was all my fault. A hundred per cent,” Patey said.

“I hope we all learn something for the better and become better pilots from my mistake. All my mistake.”

VIDEO: Mike Patey’s full video from his YouTube channel.

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Comment (1)

  • Adrian P


    Great honesty.
    Accident investigations should not be about blame but making aviation safer through informed decisions.
    Manufactures and operators take note.

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