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Skynyrd documentary

Discussion in 'Bands on the Run' started by Greg, May 16, 2017.

  1. Greg

    Greg Strat-Talker

    321
    Apr 25, 2017
    Atlanta area
    Gone with the wind, interesting to watch, growing up in north Florida these guys were a fixture in my life , there was I knew and quite a lot In did not know, worth the watch.
     

  2. dante1963

    dante1963 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    54
    299
    Apr 28, 2016
    St. Louis
    Good documentary, I thought. Lots of good detail, and plenty of respect for Ronnie Van Zant--without glossing over his flaws. I loved what Ed King said at the end when they were wrapping it all up. The part where he said that any time someone asked what Ronnie was like, he'd tell them to pick any six songs the man wrote: "Any six--you pick 'em. That's who he was."

    They did get one minor fact wrong. The plane took off from Greenville around 4 PM, not AM. A minor point, but I used to be a reporter, so mistakes like that bother me.

    The plane ran out of fuel just as the sun was setting. They were less than 20 minutes from Baton Rouge, and the passengers where finally starting to relax, because they thought they were finally going to get off that piece of crap plane.

    And then the fuel ran out.
     
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  3. Dont_Fret_None

    Dont_Fret_None Strange Stringer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 22, 2013
    Up Yonder Way
    I caught them at Anaheim Stadium California in '76, I believe it was. What a concert; one of those all-day deals with 6 or 7 bands, with Skynrd headlining.

    "Gimmie a T for Texas":

     
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  4. AncientAx

    AncientAx Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Nov 24, 2010
    Maryland
    Tragic loss for music ... would have been interesting to see the direction they would have ventured into . Ronnie seemed to be reinvigorated with Steve Gaines in the band .
     
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  5. Chont

    Chont Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 25, 2012
    Pennsylvania
    I burned myself out on Skynard but I still love them. Saw them twice but was in the early 90s so with Johnny Van Zant. The last time I saw them the guy behind me was so hammered he kept leaning over and spilling bear from his cup onto my seat. His wife kept apologizing for him. He was so into it and was clearly a fan from the early years I didn’t even mind. Wasn’t sitting down any way and there was no way I was going to put a damper on his evening.

    I will definitely check this doc out.
     

  6. dante1963

    dante1963 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    54
    299
    Apr 28, 2016
    St. Louis
    I definitely think that RVZ and the rest of the band were really peaking after Gaines joined. That was one really underappreciated guitar player. Pity he only got to play on two albums before he died.

    There were rumors floating around that Ronnie was going to leave the band and start producing. Rossington said something to that effect once in some interview, years ago. I think for one of the guitar magazines. Ronnie had been having trouble with his voice (nodes on his vocal cords), and three or four years of 300+ one night stands would get old for anyone, I think.

    Interestingly enough, years ago, (late '90s) when I was a reporter in St. Louis, I did a feature story about a local band that had once come really close to making it good named Mama's Pride. They had a little bit of a southern thing going, and they put out a couple of albums in the '70s. They had been signed by Ahmet Ertegun himself, so their future originally looked pretty bright. When I was interviewing one of the leaders of the band, he said that they were supposed to join the Tour Of The Survivors at some point and open for Skynyrd. He then said that Ronnie had offered to produce their next album.

    But then Ronnie died, and Mama's Pride's next album either didn't happen or didn't sell well--I can't remember which. Then the band lost their recording contract and split up. Pity, they did some killer stuff. A few of the Pride's tracks, like "Call me A Cab", still occasionally get played on the local rock station KShe.

    So, that's one possible path RVZ might have taken. But, of course, we'll never really know for sure.
     
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  7. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Victoria TX

  8. Chont

    Chont Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 25, 2012
    Pennsylvania
    Just watched a bunch of clips... i forgot how much i liked Gary Rossington.
     

  9. TheDuck

    TheDuck Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    52
    Jan 12, 2016
    Lil' Rhody
    I always thought it was pilot error, and that the pilot (accidentaly?) dumped the fuel in flight.

    Or was that just a nasty rumor?
     

  10. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Victoria TX
    Someone please divulge where to find this doc!
     
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  11. dante1963

    dante1963 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    54
    299
    Apr 28, 2016
    St. Louis
    Actually, that was a just an unfounded rumor. The first unfounded rumor was that the band got the pilots stoned during the flight. I heard that one when I was 15, and still hear it sometimes.

    It was pilot error, though. Those guys were absolutely incompetent. The NTSB crash report said the crash was the result of "Fuel exhaustion due to crew inattention to fuel supply" which pretty much sums it up. It also said they showed bad judgement by taking off in an aircraft with a known mechanical problem. Which is a fairly massive understatement. The fuel dump valve was in the closed position. So there is no evidence they dumped the fuel. There was also no evidence that there was a fuel leak. The crash report also said that there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol in either the pilot or co-pilot. So, so much for that rumor.

    But the more detailed response is that the plane had a problem of some sort with one of the engines. The pilots thought it was just a bad magneto. On the last successful flight, the one from Lakeland to Greenville, the engine was running extremely rough, backfiring loudly, and "torching" (Meaning 10 ft trails of flames would occasionally shoot out the back of the engine for minutes at a time, scaring the hell out of everyone on board.) So, the company the band leased the plane from (the L&J Leasing company out of Addison, TX) agreed to have a mechanic meet the plane in Baton Rouge. Why they didn't send the mechanic to Greenville has always been a mystery. Someone was trying to save money--either the band management, or the leasing company. The passengers, did NOT want to get on the plane. Cassie Gaines tried to hitch a ride in the equipment trucks, but couldn't. The pilots swore to Gene Odom, the band's head of security, that everything was fine, and that if the engine stopped, they could still fly on one engine. Which was idiotic on the face of it. Ronnie insisted on everyone getting on the plane. (Allegedly, the last thing he said before getting on the plane was "If it's your time to go, it's your time to go.")

    What no one seemed to know at the time, was that the plane was burning more fuel than it normally would, because the pilots had to put the engines in "auto-rich mode" to keep the engine running smoothly. Sort of like turning up the throttle on an old lawn mower that had a blown cylinder. The NTSB had no way of figuring out how long the pilots had been running the engines that way, and how much extra fuel had been burned.

    Plus, the crew stated in the flight plan that they had five hours of fuel on board. The NTSB basically said they had no idea how they came up with that figure.

    So, in a nutshell, the plane had less fuel on it than the crew thought, and was burning fuel faster than the crew thought. Plus, either the fuel gauge was broken or the crew never bothered to look at it, because they were too busy trying to keep the engine running. The gauge was destroyed in the crash so we'll never know for sure. But there is evidence of the latter. One thing the NTSB mentions but everyone has always overlooked, is that the crew busted clearance when they took off. Meaning the pilots asked flight control to clear them to 12,000 feet. The control tower instead, told them to go 6,000 feet, and then to 8,000 feet. Instead, the crew flew to 6,000, and then went all the way to 12,000 without permission. The NTSB didn't make a huge deal out of it in the report, because it didn't contribute to the crash, but a friend of mine, who is a licensed pilot, works for Boeing, and has a background in crash investigation told me that that's actually a pretty big deal. That it was the sort of thing that if the guy in the tower had chosen to file a complaint, the crew would have been hauled in front of a review committee and could have gotten fined or even lost their licenses. My friend said that it was "a clear indication that the crew did not have their head in the game." This also makes it likely that the crew probably blew off the pre-flight checklist, which includes manually checking the fuel level.

    I've always had a weird fascination with this crash. In part, because I loved the original band so much (not the tribute band that's out there now), but also because the crash was just so senseless.

    As part of my little obsession, I asked my friend to check a few questions I had. He out-did himself. He contacted pilots with experience on that exact aircraft. He downloaded manuals and schematics to the plane. He send emails to a handful of other crash experts.

    The thing that he came up with that I think is actually the Rosetta Stone to the whole crash is this:

    Both the pilot and the co-pilot had very little flight time on the Convair. But--and this is the big thing--they both had tons of experience on the DC-3--which is the plane the convair was designed to replace. They are very similar planes. They do have one big difference, though.

    The Convair burns 100 gallons more fuel an hour than the DC-3 did.

    So, was that the real mistake they made? When calculating how much fuel to add, did they just do the math wrong because they didn't know the fuel requirements for their unfamiliar aircraft? From take-off to impact, my friend said the math works. The amount of fuel they thought they needed would get them pretty much to the crash site.

    My friend said in the crash investigation world, it's called "The Swiss Cheese Effect." You line up enough holes in the swiss cheese, and something horrible happens. Like you wind up in a swamp in Mississippi.

    So, that, really, is probably the bottom line. The plane didn't have as much fuel on it as the crew thought it had, was burning way more fuel than they thought it would, and they didn't pay attention to it, until it was way too late.

    BTW, sorry for both the length of the post, and for any typos. I'm writing this really quickly and I don't have time to edit it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017

  12. TheDuck

    TheDuck Most Honored Senior Member

    Age:
    52
    Jan 12, 2016
    Lil' Rhody
    Thank you for taking the time to post this @dante1963.

    It was a very good read.
     
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  13. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Strat-O-Master

    628
    Jan 5, 2017
    Almost heaven
    I found it on prime but when I clicked it there's a message that shows up
    "This movie is currently unavailable
    Our agreements with the content provider don’t allow purchases of Lynyrd Skynyrd - Gone With The Wind at this time."

    I read something recently about Artemus Pyle trying to make a movie and being sued by the rest of the band to stop it, but this isn't it.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/lynyrd-skynyrd-sue-former-drummer-over-biopic-plans-w488671
     
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  14. dante1963

    dante1963 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    54
    299
    Apr 28, 2016
    St. Louis
    I've seen copies of it for sale at my local GC. It also runs pretty regularly on one of my local cable channels: AXS TV. (Which runs a ton of great music docs and concerts.)
     
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  15. dante1963

    dante1963 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    54
    299
    Apr 28, 2016
    St. Louis
    As I look over my extremely lengthy post above, I noticed two minor items that need clarification:

    First, I misspoke when I said the pilots where cleared to 6000 ft, and then to 8000 ft. They were actually cleared to 5000 ft, and then to 8000 ft. Second, when I said my friend spoke to people who had experience on "that exact aircraft" I meant the MODEL, (of which there are apparently two still flying as of now), not the the same physical plane that crashed. The plane was a Convair 240/300. and their specific plane had the designation N55VM.

    The one the band was on was apparently the third one manufactured, was almost 40 years old at the time of the crash, and had apparently only been owned by L&J for about four months.

    Another interesting bit of trivia: Aerosmith apparently refused to lease that plane from L&J because they thought it looked poorly maintained, and they claimed that the pilot and co-pilot struck them as unprofessional. They were allegedly passing a bottle of Jack Daniels back and forth during the inspection. When the Skynyrd management came to check it out, L&J painted the band's logo on the nose before they got there. That, and apparently the extremely cheap price, was enough to get them to lease it.
     
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  16. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    48
    Jul 27, 2012
    Virginia
    That is an interesting theory, and makes sense. Could be that your friend figured it out.
     
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  17. dante1963

    dante1963 Strat-Talker

    Age:
    54
    299
    Apr 28, 2016
    St. Louis
    It really makes a lot of sense, and I was surprised when he said it, because in all I've read, no one has ever seemed to consider it. They just go with "ran out of fuel" and don't push further, or they rehash the unsubstantiated rumors. Even Rossington seems (or at least seemed) to believe the "dumped the fuel" rumor. But no one has ever offered any evidence to support it. No one said they saw the pilot or co-pilot do it. No survivor ever claimed they heard either crew member say anything to suggest it. (Pretty much the only direct quote from the crew members before the crash was apparently "Oh My God" which several people heard one of them say--but that just means they realized they were out of fuel and doesn't remotely suggest a cause.) The Drive-By-Truckers used that rumor in a song in "A Southern Rock Opera," so it's probably not going away. But again, no evidence, no source, no witness, and the fuel dump valve was closed, so...seems unlikely, even for that crew.

    By the way, a pilot on one of the professional forums my friend used to gather more sources said this: "The Captain had 68 hours on type and the co-pilot 38. Enough to make you shiver and point to a cause."

    That's possibly the truest statement about the crash ever uttered.
     
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  18. Greg

    Greg Strat-Talker

    321
    Apr 25, 2017
    Atlanta area
    All I know is I grew up with the band(homeboyz) and the band ceased to exist in my book the day of the crash ,I have not and have no intention of ever seeing any other incarnation of the original band, I heard Artemus one time tell a band 'I can't help ya with a tour bus, but if you ever decide to buy a plane I can tell you which one not to buy".....
     

  19. AncientAx

    AncientAx Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Nov 24, 2010
    Maryland
    I feel the same way ... A friend of mine asked me last year if I wanted to go see Marshall Tucker. Dude , that ain't Marshall Tucker. That's a tribute band .He looked at me like I had 2 heads ......
     

  20. Bodean

    Bodean Rock N Roll Ain't Noise Pollution Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    50
    Aug 23, 2014
    South Carolina
    Skynyrd and MTB are coming here in September I have thought about it hard to go see this. It isn't the same. I can't get excited.
     
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