The Man With the Worst Flying Record Ever



In one day, Justin Kirkbride survived a plane crash in Colorado's rugged mountains, walked six hours to summon help, then boarded an Air Force helicopter that crash-landed during the search. Still, he insists his tumultuous day was no big deal. The 31-year-old pilot from Farmington, New Mexico, encountered his first brush with death when he safely brought down his single-engine Cessna 172 in a patch of trees after he had trouble controlling the plane. Trudging 10 miles through knee-deep snow and heavy woods in the middle of the night, Justin finally reached a ridge where his cell phone worked. After getting in touch with rescuers, search crews decided they needed Kirkbride on the scene because of his knowledge of the crash's whereabouts. He boarded a helicopter at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque and joined the search. After the helicopter located the wreckage, it spun several times and plunged 70 feet to the ground, landing not far from the Cessna. The helicopter’s tail and rotors were damaged, but no one was injured. The passengers in the Cessna were rescued and escaped with only broken bones and scratches. Fortunately, Kirkbride's third trip that day was an uneventful one and he arrived home safely.