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After The Accident: GoPro Helps NTSB Determine Extra 300 Crash Cause

The digital cam was lost for two years, but once it was found, it helped inform the NTSB’s conclusions on this shocking crash.

GoPro footage prior to an Extra 300 crash.
Video footage from an action cam aboard this Extra 300 captured the entire accident sequence. The camera wasn’t located for two years after the crash of the plane while on an adventure flight. Both the pilot and the non-rated passenger perished. Photos: NTSB

On a clear, sunny afternoon over scenic hills outside San Diego, the paying passenger on an extreme aviation experience was having fun. After laughing and yelling through rolls, tumbles, tailslides, his expression suddenly changed. There was a problem. The pilot was going to open the canopy on the Extra 300 plane. Jumping out and using the parachute would be next.

He saw the canopy locking pins move. The big plexiglass bubble blew away, taking with it the GoPro camera. Six seconds later, still strapped in, they impacted rugged terrain in a high-energy, unsurvivable crash. Twenty seconds after that, the GoPro landed, where it lay undiscovered for two years. Once recovered, the video helped the National Transportation Safety Board understand more of what happened on Oct. 21, 2017, over the El Capitan Reservoir, California.

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