Let me start with the disclaimer… This is not definitive proof of why Cory Lidle crashed. The accuracy of this radar track has not been verified. Also I don’t do this for a living. But having said all that, I think I have more than enough data to make this post. Judge for yourself:
What most non-pilot type people don’t know is that (historical) radar tracks are available on the web. Being a curious guy I went looking for the track of the plane and what I found stunned me.
If you’d like to see this for yourself, start here and set your time settings as I have mine, (click for full size pic) then hit the start on the upper-right of the window.
As you can see (bottom left) I highlighted Cory Lidle’s plane in red. You can see on the right side it is at 700ft. It was just starting up the East River in this screen grab. Look up river you’ll see a plane heading south — toward Lidle. It’s at 900ft and descending.
To get the full effect, you’ll have to watch it develop in real time but if you’d prefer not, this shows that Lidle was apparently avoiding a mid-air about a minute before the crash. The other plane apparently does a U turn to avoid the crash and goes below radar for a time.
Lidle continues north for another minute or so. At 14:41:46 it makes a hard left turn and at 14:41:57 it disappears off radar.
Again, this is not the Final NTSB report (and this data may be flawed) but you’re welcome to watch the track for yourself. From what we’ve seen, whoever was flying was doing their best to avoid a mid-air collision. (and/or was caught in the wash of the other plane etc.)
[Update: The way I worded this, it sorta sounds like I mean the pilot avoided the other plane and took a turn into the building. With over a minute between the events, obviously that’s not that case. What I should have typed is that I think the near miss was the beginning of a chain of events that ultimately lead to the crash.]
How do I know this is the right plane? We’ll besides the obvious that we see the end of the flight, the media gave us the N number, the departure airport and the time. I tracked it from takeoff, confirming the N number. It loses the N number data shortly after take-off and sometimes it is jumpy, but combined with the seemingly obvious mid-air and flight termination, I’m positive I’m on the right aircraft. I just used LGA’s radar because it had the apparent midair clearly.
Again, this isn’t definitive but I believe over the next few days, we’ll learn this is what happened.
Update: Kevin was cool enough to make a movie out of to make it easier on everyone. Thanks Kev.
The video is at 2X to speed things up and make the flight progress easier to see…