Yikes: Biplane Engine Dies, Pilot Manages To Get It Running Again Before Crash Landing

March 21, 2018

This is a video of 26-year-old 'aviation enthusiast' and pilot Chad Barber watching his biplane's engine die and propeller stop spinning, then managing to get it going again before a potentially disastrous crash landing. Personally, I would have bailed out with my trusty parachute, but that's just me and holy shit this is my sister's backpack.

Practicing a series of spins and loops above the ground in Coral Springs, Florida, pilot Chad Barber quickly finds himself in a spin for a different reason, as a steep incline during an attempted 'pull, push, humpty' suddenly results in the deafening sound of a dead engine.


Admitting the engine of his 'Pitts Plane' has never cut out for him before, Chad begins to level the vessel in an attempt to buy some time and begin a process of troubleshooting to re-engage the engine.

Yeah, I would never fly again. I would have landed that plane, then walked away while simultaneously throwing a match over my shoulder in slow motion so the plane exploded and burnt to ashes. You know what they say -- fool me once, shame on you, plus arson. I've never been wronged twice.

Keep going for the whole video.

Thanks to Luc, who agrees it's all fun and games until Henry Jones Sr. shoots your tail fin to pieces with the mounted machine gun.

  • Andrew

    Looks like he stalled it. Needs better fuel management. - Not a pilot

  • JJtoob

    That's a butt clencher.

  • Maybe don't name sketchy flying maneuvers "Humpty" if you aren't up for all the kings men trying to put your dismembered body back together again?

  • paski96

    how that dude didnt lose his shit is beyond me. whew.....

  • Munihausen

    Part of (most?) flight school training is deliberately stalling or cutting the engine to get used to the appreciable panic, and getting it back working. I'm sure the guy has done something similar many times previously. Nice work, regardless.

  • dycantos

    Bi-planes also glide very well and he managed to maneuver himself over that road so even without power he could have landed it safely, it would hurt but nothing a chiropractor visit couldn't fix.

  • PuppetryOfTheSock

    Biplanes glide like a piano. Especially Pitts Specials. from 2500' to 200' in 46 seconds. Still the road would have been a good call. The need for a chiropractor would depend on if he hit a fence post or power line, but it looked like it would have been fairly safe (a S1 Pitts is only about 16' span).

  • dycantos

    Didn't know that I've only flown in a Tiger Moth which glides quite nicely.

  • PuppetryOfTheSock

    It probably glides quite controllably but it's going to be very draggy with all the wires and struts. And biplanes have 4 wingtip vortices so inherently draggy from that alone. I had a look for a glide ratio reference but only found this quote ... "I know from experience...a Tiggy Moth has the glide ratio of a greased crow-bar when that little Gipsy stops". A huge positive with the tiger is the landing speed is low enough you could fly it into a brick wall and probably survive, but a Pitts will be close to 100 knots over the fence.

  • Michael Knight

    to me this guy definitely knows what he's doing.
    vid starts with him ending an inside loop then goes on to pretty precise rolls. (this lead me to wikipedia 'aerobatic maneuver' which has some cool info)
    still, even he is vocal about not crashing at the end.

  • GeneralDisorder

    I imagine it's not the sort of thing you see on video often.

  • Leo Salcedo

    how that dude didnt lose his shit is beyond me. whew.....

  • Bling Nye

    I think what stressed me out the most was his trajectory towards all those houses before he finally banked away. I started muttering 'shit man, turn... turn.. TURRRRRNGODDAMNIT!!'

  • Konstantin

    Eh. He clearly put the plane into the steep dive after the engine stalled in an attempt to wind-mill it to a start. He had plenty of air speed to find a decent enough landing spot and put the plane down safely. Pretty much the only time you're in any danger on one of these light planes is if a wing falls off.

  • Mark

    I was enjoying watching him try to start the engine while still maneuvering the plane for a smooth landing along that highway.

    Well done

  • TheQiwiMan

    "Fool me once, shame on you, plus arson"

    This is it. Finally found the quote I want to put on my tombstone.

    Thank you, GW.

  • Geekologie

    finally I did something useful

  • Doog

    Check your volume there's so much screaming in that video.

    Oh wait, according to the people I work with I was just screaming. The guy in the video keeps his cool the whole time.

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