Bernath’s Crash Analysis

| April 15, 2020

Vans RV-12, the type of aircraft which crashed in Bonita Springs on Monday killing the pilot. (Photo: Special to The News-Press)

Bernath’s Crash analysis report has been submitted by the NTSB.
New commenter Fibber sends.

Multiple significant issues cited in 2018 sport plane crash that killed Fort Myers pilot

Michael Braun

Significant health, mental, medication and flight issues likely contributed to a Jan. 22, 2018, plane crash in Bonita Springs that killed Daniel Bernath, 68, a Fort Myers pilot.

Bernath’s plane crashed in a wooded area outside a gated community in southeast Bonita Springs as he flew to Everglades Airport in Everglades City.

The crash analysis in the final report submitted by the National Transportation Safety Board said that Bernath was flying a Van’s Aircraft RV-12 within the yellow airspeed caution range and in excess of the craft’s maximum structural cruise speed. That aspect was cited as a mitigating factor in the in-flight failure of the craft’s left wing shortly before the plane crashed.

An autopsy of Bernath found a cocktail of three potentially impairing psychoactive medications: Citalopram, Mirtazapine and Trazadone, all antidepressants and all carrying warnings that they can impair judgment and motor skills as well as impede the mental or physical abilities required to perform potentially hazardous tasks such as driving or operating heavy equipment.

Bernath had also been released from a months-long stint in a Virginia jail just days before the crash, the report said.

Read the rest of the article here: News Press

Thanks, Fibber.

Category: Bernath, Feel Good Stories, Guest Link, Stolen Valor

Comments (113)

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  1. Sapper3307 says:

    Gravity always wins.

    • USAFRetired says:

      Gravity Its not just a good idea, its the law.

      As an old aviator another rule is takeoffs are mandatory, landings are optional.

      • AW1Ed says:

        Most useless things in aviation:

        Runway behind you.
        Altitude above you.
        Fuel left in the truck.
        Ten seconds ago.

      • USMC Steve says:

        Well, there will always be an equal number of landings to takeoffs, the goal is to ensure an equal number of CONTROLLED and proper landings. Old boy came up one short there.

      • Harry D says:

        I think you got that backwards – takeoffs are optional, landings are mandatory. You don’t have to leave the ground but you must come back.

    • FC2(SW) Ron says:

      There are old pilots and there are bold pilots but there are no old bold pilots…. (except Chuck Yeager)

  2. ChipNASA says:

    ”WHAT!?!?! He’s DEAD?!?!?!”

  3. SFC D says:

    Karma and/or Darwin always win. It just takes time and patience.

  4. Skyjumper says:


    Too much?? (grin)

  5. 26Limabeans says:

    “Bernath had also been released from a months-long stint in a Virginia jail just days before the crash”

    Did they check his ass for recent going away gifts?

  6. Hondo says:

    “. . . . the report did say . . . Bernath was not performing at a competent level.”

    You don’t say. I’d never have guessed that.

    (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.)

  7. Hack Stone says:

    Autopsy results found no traces of Red Bull.

  8. Hack Stone says:

    The left wing fell off in flight? So, he was a victim of a vast right wing conspiracy!!!

    • rgr769 says:

      Notice how the right wing held up until the end of the flight. But the left wing, not so much. That looks like a political metaphor.

    • Roh-Dog says:

      As reported, I have a “complete ignorance about how science works,” but it’s clear the left wing runned outta “magic”, and “[could not] overcome the laws of physics or thermodynamics.”
      A loss of a lift surface during controlled-falling does have negative y value acceleration due i part to g.
      Read: sucks to suck.

    • The left wing fell off in flight? So, he was a victim of a vast right wing conspiracy!!!/GROAN

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      The left wing fails again.

  9. rgr769 says:

    Welp, drugged up and deranged is not a good look for someone piloting an airplane. I guess Bernutz missed the briefing where student pilots are instructed that flying while taking judgment-impairing and motor skills degrading drugs are verboten within 24 hours of taking flight.

    • Hack Stone says:

      Bottle to throttle is a hard and fast rule in flight safety, but nobody ever mentioned drinking from a flask.

      Damn shame that he died in this unscheduled landing, Hack Stone would have looked forward to Bernath blaming this misadventure on someone not explicitly telling him not to do some dumbass shit.

      • SFC D says:

        The landing was unscheduled, and possibly a new record for the shortest landing roll. The low altitude record was a tie, however.

  10. ArmyATC says:

    “Additionally, the report said that Bernath had a sport pilot certificate and, according to the FAA, did not possess an FAA medical certificate, nor was one required to operate as a sport pilot.”

    Therein lies the problem with the sport pilot certificate. No medical certification is required, relying on self-reporting by the pilot of any medical problems. Bernath should never have been behind the controls of any aircraft. It’s obvious he was mentally and physically unfit to fly.

    • Hack Stone says:

      If he was wearing that bicycle helmet and reflective safety vest that he donned while fleeing the Shipley’s, he just may have survived. Let this be a lesson to all you kids out there, reflective safety vests save lives.

    • Valerie says:

      I can imagine that once one of these “sport” planes crashes into someones house, that regulations will change.

    • NHSparky says:

      IIRC, he wasn’t supposed to be flying in the first place, sport license or not.

      At least there were no dogs, knives, or duct tape involved. This time.

  11. 5th/77th FA says:

    FIRST Rule of flight. Successful landings must equal number of successful takeoffs. Saw this the other night when bim posted it as a comment on the Roosevelt Sailor Thread. (?)

    What caused his death? His heart stopped beating. What caused his heart to stop beating? His own stupidity. He did manage to commit self murder and he IS still maintaining minus 6 feet AGL so there is that going for his life’s accomplishments.

    • Bim says:

      Thanks. The NTSB records of the crash are all located on their website, including medical and toxicology, ATC transcripts, flight telemetry, and a reference to Don Shipley and the $1.3M judgement against him as a possible reason why he was so doped up. Oh, and the PTSD. Always PTSD with these guys.

      some things of note:

      They could not examine his brain. Not enough material.
      He managed to hit over 170MPH during his descent that peaked to 10,000 FPM.
      The telemetry shows massive spikes in G loading prior to the incident.
      The A&P that maintained his plane said that it looked like someone but powdered laundry detergent in his gas tank once.

      If that doesn’t work, do a search of the accident dockets for ERA18FA064

    • marinedad61 says:

      Bed sheets in a prison cell? Nope.
      Car into a tree? Nuh-uh.
      Bicycle off the pier into the drink? Too slow.
      The perfect suicide symphony for maximum sympathy:
      Crash into the Everglades and feed the alligators.

      Almost there… Oh oh.
      (Failed again.)
      It sure sucks to suck at suicide for sympathy.

      • NHSparky says:

        I will give Bernath credit for one thing: when he decided to off himself, he didn’t fuck around and instead went out in a most irreversible manner.

        Compare him to that attention whore Bradley Manning. That useless numbnuts could fuck up a wet dream.

  12. JURASSICHM says:

    This guy was really, really depressed or his MD was an idiot. No way anyone taking that many psych meds should be allowed near an airplane much less fly one. Maybe the wing falling off was God’s way of saying, “Let’s get this guy out of the sky before he becomes a voluntary lawn dart and kills someone else!”

    • IDC SARC says:

      In all fairness we don’t know how the meds were prescribed. We don’t know they were all prescribed by the same provider, even his or how he was taking them.

      Very possible the Citalopram was his main medication…Trazodone and Mirtazapine are both often added as night time meds (often as needed or “prn”) just for sleep.

      Under DoD standards yeah..he woulda been grounded. Dunno about civilian standards …but we also don’t know if he told his prescribing MD/DO/PA/NP whatever that he was on flight status.

      Those meds taken together (depending on dose and his tolerance) could certainly take the edge off of his anxiety during his last act of idiocy.

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        He was non-compliant with legal process as defined by professionals, and non-compliant with maintenance process as defined by professionals. I have no expectation he was taking his medications as recommended by professionals.

      • NHSparky says:

        Any possibility he was taking meds as prescribed by multiple providers?

        Dunno what the protocol in jail would be or even if they would have access to his records.

        Combine that with Bernath’s penchant for non-disclosure or outright lying, and anything is possible.

      • Friend says:

        A good doctor would request a pee test each month that shows the medications and level of meds in the body.
        They also check with DEA to see prescription history at Pharmacy’s.

  13. Sapper3307 says:

    But will he vote for Biden?

    • Graybeard says:

      I thought he was voting for Sanders. By mail.

      • rgr769 says:

        Some D-rat will come by to pick up his absentee ballot from Widow Bernath, but not until the general election. D-rats only do their voter fraud when it really counts.

      • OldSoldier54 says:

        “I thought he was voting for Sanders. By mail.”

        ,,, at LEAST three times …

    • MrBill says:

      I recall from his social media postings that he was very right wing. He was fond of talking about “knee grows”. Too bad his Disqus account went away; there was a ton of pretty appalling stuff there.

      • Cameron says:

        I remember him sending an email to Jonn (who would go on to post it here) where he said something along the lines of “get back in the oven Jew boy.” I bet he would blame the Zionists (a convenient way of blaming the Jews without saying actually it, I have seen clowns on YouTube who say that the Zionists control our government) for the world’s troubles. In fact, Admiral Thomas Moorer was one such guy who became very anti-zionist after the attack on the USS Liberty.

  14. Hack Stone says:

    Friends don’t let friends fly with Daniel Bernath.

  15. Skyjumper says:

    But, but, but……
    What ever happened to the coconut…
    Was it reduced to just a shell of it’s former self due to the crash? (smile)

  16. Ret_25X says:

    His decision making inability is on full display here.

    Most adults understand that when on medications that impair them, they should stay home and not be a danger to others.

    This guy…no…he felt he was entitled to be a menace to himself and others no matter the situation.

    In his professional and personal life, we have a cautionary tale to all.

    Don’t be this guy.

  17. Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH B Woodman says:

    There are old pilots.
    There are bold pilots.
    There are NO old bold pilots.

  18. Berliner says:

    My thoughts:

    Daniel Bernath always harbored thoughts on being a furry. Flying along, medicated and daydreaming, he thought it was groundhog day. Suddenly, looking down on the ground, he saw his shadow and then he realized he didn’t want more winter. And the rest is history.

    In the end, he finally made an impact.

  19. Sparks says:

    Well, that thread is done and finally finished.

    • rgr769 says:

      Ahh, but we will still have Danny Boi to nostalgically and occasionally kick around in random comments.

  20. Friend says:

    Don’t give a fiddlers fuck, how, why or where he died…
    SON OF A BITCH IS DEAD and many people couldn’t be HAPPIER….

  21. C2Show says:

    That is what happens when you go un-checked and nobody is actually monitoring your psychotic behavior. He should have been mental ward or psych eval. Dude did alot of evil shit, how he wasn’t a 5150 is beyond me. His antics in now deleted Shipley video shows a man with deep rooted issues.

    Someone better check his other psychotic pal, Wittenhole before he goes out and hurts public.

    • NHSparky says:

      Simple. The bar at which a Baker Act is set, especially in states like FL with a high senior population, is very substantial, and with good reason.

  22. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Some say that one is not appreciated until he is dead. Bernath is dead, and I appreciate that. Now there are no more vexatious lawsuits and abuse of the legal system done by him and I’m sure that Bernath’s antics in and out of Court are still talked about among legit Attorneys with those who have never heard of Bernath saying “NO WAY, you gotta be shitting me!”. I bet “Don’t be a Bernath” is also a saying among legitimate Attorneys as well!

    • NHSparky says:

      To paraphrase Bette Davis:

      “You should never say bad things about the dead, only good…Daniel Bernath is dead. Good.”

    • Hack Stone says:

      Hack posted this before, but it is worth repeating.

      More people mourned the death of Adolph Hitler than Daniel Bernath. That is not to imply that Bernath was worse than Hitler, but The Shipley’s never had to file a restraining order against Hitler.

  23. JTB says:

    Maybe the aircraft was depressed…

  24. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    It’s been seen that Bernath did half-assed repairs and maintenance on that plane from the pics he posted of them and I concur that he had NO BUSINESS being in the cockpit of any aircraft, IMHO the FAA should have forbidden him from flying anything other than a kite after his first crash.

    • RGR 4-78 says:

      “flying anything other than a kite”
      Knowing that a hole he probably would have been struck by lighting.

      Who knew that being a complete a$$hole could be a life safety issue.

  25. Mustang Major says:

    Barnath had no business at the controls of an airplane. Read through the accident report. He was very frustrating to deal with judging by the air traffic control transcripts.

  26. AW1Ed says:

    With the NTSB report at hand, I believe this wraps up the Bernath saga with a bow. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

    In Memoriam,

    danny headstone

    Hat tip to ChipNASA, co-conspirator.

    • marinedad61 says:

      Classic photo! For the ages.
      They almost got the stone right.
      Considering the Stolen Valor phoniness, the internet infamy,
      the wrangling in all kinds of courtrooms,
      the jail term, the civil judgment,
      and of course the plane crash (with NTSB report)…
      Who was smoking what when they came up with LIVED LIFE WELL?

    • Friend says:

      LOVE THIS PHOTO! I keep a copy next to the Witless assholes mugshot by the front door…
      Twice I sent a framed copy via friends to Witless in Orange City, Fl

  27. Daisy Cutter says:

    If he would have made it he would have sued the makers of Citalopram, Mirtazapine and Trazadone because they failed to print the label large enough for warning about operating heavy equipment.

    • ArmyATC says:

      Pain meds caused me to fail my annual and cost me my controller’s ticket and forced me into retirement.

  28. Wilted Willy says:

    Shit, I gave up my pilots license because of my pain meds I have to take because of my back! And you mean all I had to do was change to a sport pilot and I could have kept flying?? What a pisser, I really miss flying!!

  29. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.

    Sadly Mr. Bernath you chose a path in this life where your lies when exposed caused you to attempt to inflict harm on those who told the truth when you were the one in the wrong with your lies and accusations.

    You were neither a good or honorable man, that you are dead now removes from this world a small measure of ugliness.

    In your absence the air seems a little fresher, the sun a little brighter and the quality of life far more pleasurable.

    That is about the worst fate I can imagine, to make others glad that I am no longer on this earth.

    Good riddance to you sir, you passed as you lived taking the wrong option for every opportunity to take the right option that was presented to you.

  30. Skippy says:

    Still the craziest SOB ever !!!!!!!
    definitely a victim of his Own Karma debt
    I wonder what happened to his little
    Lap dog Dullass

    • Friend says:

      Still sucking dicks behind the Walmart for a shot of liquor.
      Sadly the butt plug wasn’t in the passenger seat..

  31. Cameron says:

    Where there any rustling bushes involved?

    • Just An Old Dog says:

      “Where there any rustling bushes involved?”

      I’m sure plenty of bushes were rustled when parts of him and the plane splattered on them.

  32. timactual says:

    “That aspect was cited as a mitigating factor in the in-flight failure of the craft’s left wing”

    having the effect of making something bad less severe, serious, or painful.”

    Obvious White House press corps material. WTF do they teach journalism and “communications” majors, anyway?

  33. timactual says:

    “de mortuis nil nisi bonum”

    Don’t you sorry folks have any class at all? I have half a mind to stop hanging around you deplorables (the other half can’t stop laughing).

    Oh, and you are welcome for the straight line.

    • rgr1480 says:



    • rgr1480 says:

      Et mortuus est. Bonum.

      Tertullian never was sued by Bernath.

    • Hondo says:

      Bette Davis had a variation on that line when she was asked about Joan Crawford’s demise (the two reportedly despised each other). Some would say that Bette’s variant is appropriate here, too.

    • The Stranger says:

      Class? Really?
      *Adjusts monocle*
      *Refills Glencairn glass with The MacAllan 12*
      Bro, I sweat class and I always have a bottle of Grey Poupon handy!
      *Belches loudly*

  34. Mick says:

    There’s a reason why they call it Vne.

    • rgr1480 says:

      I had to look that up.

      …and the red line is the VNE, the never exceed speed.

    • rgr769 says:

      The reason is because exceeding Vne will likely cause structural damage to the airframe. For example, pull back on the the stick or the yoke at or above Vne and you could cause a control surface, such as the elevator or stabilator to tear off or deform. In Bernasty’s case, that is what likely caused the structural failure of the left wing. He may have manipulated the controls so that there was an aileron input above Vne. Play stupid games at the controls of an aircraft and you win stupid prizes.