Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

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Doctor CamNC4Me
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

RI,

For sure. For me it's been dick punched. You got something other than nitpicking terminology that the feds may or may not use consistently, or conjecturing that Rusty might've smooshed details from past flights together, or that he may or may not be telling obvious B.S. stories, or it's Sheri fault for fabricating an element of the story, or any number of other possible reasons to keep this whopper of a B.S. story possibly within the realm of kinda sorta maybe accurate?

Let's review.

1) The story is self-serving, self-aggrandizing, and kind of shitty toward women. It's full of cliches and tropes.

2) No record of it.

3) No news coverage.

4) Rusty has told other whoppers.

5) Mormon leadership has historically told whoppers to push their nonsense.

Since this thread isn't a criminal trial or even an investigation that meets your exacting standards (which has been an incredibly enlightening peek into your world), but rather a group of skeptics picking Rusty's dumb and ridiculous story apart, I'm happy, for me, to state that the dick has been punched.

Verdict: DICK PUNCHED

- Doc
Clinton King commenting on SeN: "My (perhaps) uncommon personal opinion: I find it easier to doubt the accuracy of carbon dating than the historicity of the Book of Abraham narrative." Good, Lord.
Lem
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Lem »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:15 am
Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:10 am
Excellent sleuthing, Dr. Moore - and very nice addendum with the news article. It really punches RMN's tale squarely in the dick.

- doc
Does it? The definition of incident is lots broader than that for accidents. So, all other things being equal, wouldn’t we expect to see more incidents in a month than accidents.

I think there are two possibilities to consider: (1) November 1976 just happened to be a slow month for incidents....
How would being "a slow month for incidents" be relevant to the search for information re: Nelson's story?
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Res Ipsa »

Hi Lem,

It’s probably clearer if I reword the two possible cases:

(1) The NTSB has retained records of incidents that occurred in Utah during 1976, but it just happened that no incidents occurred in November.

(2) The NTSB has not retained records of incidents occurring in Utah in 1976.

The NTSB response is consistent with both cases.

The agency is supposed to have a records disposition schedule, which would tell us when, if ever, records of incidents are to be disposed of.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” -- Voltaire
Res Ipsa
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Res Ipsa »

Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:52 am
RI,

For sure. For me it's been dick punched. You got something other than nitpicking terminology that the feds may or may not use consistently, or conjecturing that Rusty might've smooshed details from past flights together, or that he may or may not be telling obvious B.S. stories, or it's Sheri fault for fabricating an element of the story, or any number of other possible reasons to keep this whopper of a B.S. story possibly within the realm of kinda sorta maybe accurate?

Let's review.

1) The story is self-serving, self-aggrandizing, and kind of shitty toward women. It's full of cliches and tropes.

2) No record of it.

3) No news coverage.

4) Rusty has told other whoppers.

5) Mormon leadership has historically told whoppers to push their nonsense.

Since this thread isn't a criminal trial or even an investigation that meets your exacting standards (which has been an incredibly enlightening peek into your world), but rather a group of skeptics picking Rusty's dumb and ridiculous story apart, I'm happy, for me, to state that the dick has been punched.

Verdict: DICK PUNCHED

- Doc
Doc, you, like everybody else, gets to make up your own mind. The nitpicky terminology you refer is the terminology the NTSB uses consistent with its own regulations. We know that in 2002, the NTSB added summaries of its probable cause reports for all accidents and “selected” incidents for a block of older investigations to its database. What we don’t know is, having done that, did they retain the paper files? If they didn’t, then the response to the request Dr. Moore’s friend received isn’t evidence of anything.

I’m in no rush, Doc. And I’m still in brainstorming phase of thinking about the possibilities and what evidence might exist that could confirm one of the possibilities out Rule out one or more.

I’m not likely to be ready to settle on what I think is likely until I’ve had a chance to eyeball the two versions tools closest to the incident. As the sources are in Utah, It may take me while. I’d also want to track changes in important details as he tells the story over time to see if there is a discernible pattern.

I like trying to figure out what happened based on a set of evidence. It’s fun for me. And, unlike with my work, I don’t have a deadline and won’t have a pissed of client if a judge or jury disagrees with me.

My point here was simply there’s an assumption that needs to be tested before we can draw any conclusions from the most recent FOIA response.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” -- Voltaire
Lem
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Lem »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:21 am
Hi Lem,

It’s probably clearer if I reword the two possible cases:

(1) The NTSB has retained records of incidents that occurred in Utah during 1976, but it just happened that no incidents occurred in November.

(2) The NTSB has not retained records of incidents occurring in Utah in 1976.

The NTSB response is consistent with both cases.

The agency is supposed to have a records disposition schedule, which would tell us when, if ever, records of incidents are to be disposed of.
I appreciate your effort here, but if your response to an NTSB email is to note that what the email said may not be true because such records may or may not have been retained, then there is literally no end to this endeavor.

Every single piece of information presented that states there was "no record found" can be dismissed by stating that that conclusion might arise from an incomplete database. After so many renditions of this, it becomes nothing more than a perverse manipulation of statistical likelihood. I can see why one might succeed with this strategy in a lawsuit, and why testifying experts must take this tack, but in the consulting that I do where policy decisions have to be made, it would not be considered a helpful or meaningful use of information.

This is no statement on your work here, as I, like Doc, have appreciated the glimpse into this world, I am just noting that other decision makers looking at this kind of data find themselves in a position where they have to make a decision in a timely manner, and the information given so far in this thread makes a pretty solid case that whatever the original incident was, it didn't rise to the level of the most recent iterations of this story. Nelson's published versions of this story that involve anything more than a non-reportable "incident" are simply not believable.
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by IHAQ »

Lem wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:43 am
I appreciate your effort here, but if your response to an NTSB email is to note that what the email said may not be true because such records may or may not have been retained, then there is literally no end to this endeavor.

Every single piece of information presented that states there was "no record found" can be dismissed by stating that that conclusion might arise from an incomplete database. After so many renditions of this, it becomes nothing more than a perverse manipulation of statistical likelihood. I can see why one might succeed with this strategy in a lawsuit, and why testifying experts must take this tack, but in the consulting that I do where policy decisions have to be made, it would not be considered a helpful or meaningful use of information.

This is no statement on your work here, as I, like Doc, have appreciated the glimpse into this world, I am just noting that other decision makers looking at this kind of data find themselves in a position where they have to make a decision in a timely manner, and the information given so far in this thread makes a pretty solid case that whatever the original incident was, it didn't rise to the level of the most recent iterations of this story. Nelson's published versions of this story that involve anything more than a non-reportable "incident" are simply not believable.
It's an interesting glimpse into how insurance companies avoid paying out! :D No offence intended RI, I too appreciate your "case for the defence" efforts. But I have to say, to me they have only served to bring into sharper focus just how unlikely it is that Nelson has told the truth in his "Doors Off Death" story. And that's a big news story as it was the basis, he claims, for him writing an autobiography for his family (that in and of itself tells you the high esteem in which he holds himself), plus it was included in his official biography written by Sheri Dew (which has already had one story fabricated by Nelson removed from subsequent print runs), and it has been used in talks given across the years including this Easter.

If I were to speculate - I'd suggest Nelson felt he needed a miracle story to get himself noticed. At the time he wasn't being given Conference talks or Ensign articles, he was stuck in the Sunday School job, and he was up against the likes of Dunn for General Authority and Apostle jobs. He needed a tale that would garner attention and profile and help him stand out in "faith" terms. So, whilst sat on a flight to Dixie he concocted one.
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Res Ipsa »

Lem wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:43 am
Res Ipsa wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:21 am
Hi Lem,

It’s probably clearer if I reword the two possible cases:

(1) The NTSB has retained records of incidents that occurred in Utah during 1976, but it just happened that no incidents occurred in November.

(2) The NTSB has not retained records of incidents occurring in Utah in 1976.

The NTSB response is consistent with both cases.

The agency is supposed to have a records disposition schedule, which would tell us when, if ever, records of incidents are to be disposed of.
I appreciate your effort here, but if your response to an NTSB email is to note that what the email said may not be true because such records may or may not have been retained, then there is literally no end to this endeavor.

Every single piece of information presented that states there was "no record found" can be dismissed by stating that that conclusion might arise from an incomplete database. After so many renditions of this, it becomes nothing more than a perverse manipulation of statistical likelihood. I can see why one might succeed with this strategy in a lawsuit, and why testifying experts must take this tack, but in the consulting that I do where policy decisions have to be made, it would not be considered a helpful or meaningful use of information.

This is no statement on your work here, as I, like Doc, have appreciated the glimpse into this world, I am just noting that other decision makers looking at this kind of data find themselves in a position where they have to make a decision in a timely manner, and the information given so far in this thread makes a pretty solid case that whatever the original incident was, it didn't rise to the level of the most recent iterations of this story. Nelson's published versions of this story that involve anything more than a non-reportable "incident" are simply not believable.
Lem, I must disagree. When drawing conclusions from the absence of evidence, you have to be reasonably certain in your assumption that the type of evidence you’re looking for exists. That’s not a lawyerly tactic — that’s a just the nature of drawing conclusions from absence of evidence.

One of the most tragic cases I worked on was the murder of a young woman by a serial killer. She lived in a mother in law apartment in the basement of my client’s home. The police investigation found there was no forced entry.

The Victim’s parents sued my client, alleging that they failed to provide the security that was legally required. They had hired an expert that investigated the apartment and found requirements, such as door locks, window locks, exterior lighting, etc.

So, what should we conclude from the absence of evidence of forced entry? The plaintiff’s case was that the deficiencies their expert found in the security allowed the killer to enter the apartment without leaving evidence of forced entry.

So, of course, we hired an expert who inspected the apartment. Although he quibbled with a couple of details, he generally agreed with plaintiff’s expert. But, he went a step further and tried to break in to each exterior window and door without leaving obvious physical evidence. He couldn’t.

Plaintiff attorney’s reaction was that, because of deficiencies in the exterior lighting, he’d been able to ambush her at the door. The time of death was well after dark.

My case was the last of the murder. The killer was arrested and tried and convicted of all three. He filed an appeal. An appeal of a trial means there was likely a written transcript of the trial. We checked, and there was.

We ordered the transcript, and I read all the testimony that has to do with the murder in my clients home. And I found a key piece of evidence: the killer and victim knew each other. She’d gone out to lunch with him. She’d introduced friends at work to him.

So, now, what can we reasonably conclude from the absence of forced entry?

The parents didn’t know this. They were so traumatized by their daughter’s death that they left the state during the trial. Their attorney didn’t know because he was so sure he knew what had happened, he didn’t even think to look for alternative factual scenarios to the one he’d decided on.

The case was going to be expensive to try. I would need to basically have to retry part of a murder case. I would need to do extensive discovery to make sure I had credible witnesses to the fact that the two knew each other. So, I persuaded the insurer who was paying me to defend my clients to make a formal “offer of judgment,” which is an on the record, formalized settlement offer, for what it would cost the insurer to try the case. (The insurance supervisor really, really wanted to try the case. My clients, however, had been significantly traumatized by the murder, and wanted the case to go away,)

In response, the parents attorney called me up to berate me about the small amount of the settlement offer. He began to argue about the strength of his case and the like amount of damages the parents would recover.

At some point I interrupted him and said something like “you do understand that they knew each other, right.” He replied “B.S.! Where are you getting that from?” That is how I learned that he’d never looked at the best source of evidence of what actually happened.

And that was the only time in my career I ever yelled at another attorney. I chewed him out for the trauma he was putting my clients through and the trauma he was going to put her parents through when they would find out, for the first time, what really happened to their daughter.

The offer of judgment was set to expire on the date of our first deposition. I showed up. The witness showed up. The court reporter showed up. And a messenger delivered the formal acceptance of our offer of judgment.

The lesson here is not that I’m some kind of super genius lawyer. I did nothing extraordinary. At the time, I’d specialized in insurance coverage, and I didn’t do tour defense. So, I was out of my element. I was careful to always ask myself “what am I assuming? How could I be wrong?”

Making justifiable conclusions from the absence of evidence is hard. It’s extremely hard when the evidence when the evidence is 45 years old.

None of us knows what the NTSB’s schedule of record disposition (seems to be what the government terminology) is. None of us knows whether the NTSB has retained any paper records of incidents from 1976. And none of us have enough experience with FOIA to know which of the two possible meanings of the response that I listed is the correct one.

Confirmation bias is nasty, especially when we draw inferences from the absence of evidence.

I have a deadline to meet this morning. After that, I’ll post what I think is a FOIA request that would help us fill in the problematic unknowns.

BTW, I read up on FOIA, and learned some interesting but boring stuff that one should know before making FOIA request. If anyone is thinking of making more requests, please shoot me a PM and I’ll be happy to explain.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” -- Voltaire
Lem
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Lem »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:59 pm
Lem wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:43 am

I appreciate your effort here, but if your response to an NTSB email is to note that what the email said may not be true because such records may or may not have been retained, then there is literally no end to this endeavor.

Every single piece of information presented that states there was "no record found" can be dismissed by stating that that conclusion might arise from an incomplete database. After so many renditions of this, it becomes nothing more than a perverse manipulation of statistical likelihood. I can see why one might succeed with this strategy in a lawsuit, and why testifying experts must take this tack, but in the consulting that I do where policy decisions have to be made, it would not be considered a helpful or meaningful use of information.

This is no statement on your work here, as I, like Doc, have appreciated the glimpse into this world, I am just noting that other decision makers looking at this kind of data find themselves in a position where they have to make a decision in a timely manner, and the information given so far in this thread makes a pretty solid case that whatever the original incident was, it didn't rise to the level of the most recent iterations of this story. Nelson's published versions of this story that involve anything more than a non-reportable "incident" are simply not believable.
Lem, I must disagree. When drawing conclusions from the absence of evidence, you have to be reasonably certain in your assumption that the type of evidence you’re looking for exists. That’s not a lawyerly tactic — that’s a just the nature of drawing conclusions from absence of evidence.

One of the most tragic cases I worked on was the murder of a young woman by a serial killer....


BTW, I read up on FOIA, and learned some interesting but boring stuff that one should know before making FOIA request. If anyone is thinking of making more requests, please shoot me a PM and I’ll be happy to explain.
That's a tragic story, I empathize. I think the error made by the lawyer in your story was egregious. I would have yelled too.

We will have to agree to disagree, then, because your example has no relevance to the point I was making. Even after you do a FOIA request (which I know a bit about myself too, also for professional reasons), one could still argue incompleteness for a variety of reasons and technically be correct.

Kind of like how the mesoamerican mopologists argue that the verdict is still out on Book of Mormon historicity because not 100% of the globe has been excavated. And even when it has, what if somebody missed something? It never ends.
Last edited by Lem on Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by Lem »

IHAQ wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:47 am
Lem wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:43 am
I appreciate your effort here, but if your response to an NTSB email is to note that what the email said may not be true because such records may or may not have been retained, then there is literally no end to this endeavor.

Every single piece of information presented that states there was "no record found" can be dismissed by stating that that conclusion might arise from an incomplete database. After so many renditions of this, it becomes nothing more than a perverse manipulation of statistical likelihood. I can see why one might succeed with this strategy in a lawsuit, and why testifying experts must take this tack, but in the consulting that I do where policy decisions have to be made, it would not be considered a helpful or meaningful use of information.

This is no statement on your work here, as I, like Doc, have appreciated the glimpse into this world, I am just noting that other decision makers looking at this kind of data find themselves in a position where they have to make a decision in a timely manner, and the information given so far in this thread makes a pretty solid case that whatever the original incident was, it didn't rise to the level of the most recent iterations of this story. Nelson's published versions of this story that involve anything more than a non-reportable "incident" are simply not believable.
It's an interesting glimpse into how insurance companies avoid paying out! :D No offence intended RI, I too appreciate your "case for the defence" efforts. But I have to say, to me they have only served to bring into sharper focus just how unlikely it is that Nelson has told the truth in his "Doors Off Death" story. And that's a big news story as it was the basis, he claims, for him writing an autobiography for his family (that in and of itself tells you the high esteem in which he holds himself), plus it was included in his official biography written by Sheri Dew (which has already had one story fabricated by Nelson removed from subsequent print runs), and it has been used in talks given across the years including this Easter....
It's interesting that the version of this story with the most flamboyant upgrade in details seems to be the one in Sherri Dew's version. Iirc, the other removed story was also based on a simpler version that was true, but didn't have the 'miraculous' details. Given that the earliest version in Nelson's autobiography is quite simple, the likelihood that Dew did the same with this story would be an interesting angle to consider.
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Re: Fact Checking Nelson's "Doors Of Death" light aircraft near death experience

Post by DrW »

Shown below is a screenshot of a Piper Navaho engine fire event report summary. This engine out event was properly handled by a professional pilot (like the one who would have been flying for SkyWest) as described on the first page of this thread.

Image

Please note:

- No death spiral dive to extinguish the fire*
- No flames engulfing the plane.
- No restarting the left engine in the nick of time to avoid a crash
- No landing in a farmer's field.
- No need to send another plane to pick up the VIP passenger.

Just four references to the event.

I take the response to Dr. Moore's FOIA inquiry as an affirmative statement by the US Government that the event described by RMN did not happen in November of 1976. (The ten day report period deadline would have still been in November). Please see Doc Cam's FOIA response and my comment on the following page.

I further take the absence of any evidence of such an incident for the entire year, from any independent contemporary source whatsoever, as incontrovertible evidence that the event never happened.
___________________________________

*An engine fire that continues to burn after the fuel is shut off is likely due to an oil line leak, which fire the pilot was able to extinguished on the runway after the passengers had safely deplaned.
Last edited by DrW on Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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