Plane goes in flat spin, crashes; pilot, passenger walk away unscathed

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By Don Rutledge

FPS Associate EditorIsaac Brumm Military uniform RBG

Can you imagine falling some 5,000 feet in an airplane and surviving?

That’s what the son and grandson of a Carrollton family experienced earlier this year.

Isaac Brumm, son of the former Jennifer Saltsman (now Brumm) and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Carl (Ann) Saltsman of Carrollton, was a passenger in a plane on an hour long flying outing with his church youth leader, Matt Turner last April 29.

The 17-year veteran contract pilot for the Air Force who is also a stunt pilot, did a fly out tour over the Brumm house in Colorado Springs, the mountain just above the house where Isaac bikes, near Pikes Peak, and over the Garden of the Gods and back towards the private airport where they took off.

During a typical stunt stall maneuver that the pilot has done thousands of times, the plane malfunctioned and went into a flat spin, descending some 5,000 feet to the earth. The plan crashed in a heavily wooded area of Colorado Springs.

After hitting a tall embankment, the plane then flipped and came to rest against several small pine trees, leaving the two men suspended by their seat belts with their faces about a foot from the ground.

Ironically, Isaac had his Go Pro camera strapped to his head and filmed the entire outing, including the crash. According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigator, it took about one minute and 20 seconds before impact.

The deputy from the Sheriff’s office that was first on the scene to the accident and whose office confiscated Isaac’s Go Pro camera to give to the FAA, made a copy of the filming for the Brumm family after watching the crash portion of the video over and over.

The Brumms said the deputy was visibly humbled and moved when he dropped off the copy and told them that he has seen all kinds of videos of plane crashes and has never ever seen anything as clear, powerful and unbelievable as this. He also commented that he couldn’t explain why either is alive.

The Brumm family later watched the video and described the flying tour as peaceful, beautiful and majestic. But the moment of malfunction and descent were surreal, heartbreaking and horrendous.

The video showed the plane coming to a halt and the camera that had been strapped to Isaac’s hat had come to rest in the dirt, pointing back up perfectly capturing his face and first reaction when he said “Thank you Jesus.”

“Our son then proceeded to act with care and compassion for his friend, with amazing professionalism with the first responders and with humor that only Isaac could have in a situation like that,” his mother, Jennifer, commented. “There are no words to adequately describe the range of emotions we’ve all been feeling as we continue to wrap our heads around what happened, but we do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our great and mighty God is the One to thank,” she added. “I’m living proof that miracles do happen,” Isaac commented.

According to Mrs. Brumm, a retired pastor and his wife saw the plane from their back porch doing stunts and then stall and fall out of the sky. She said the couple later told them they prayed as it descended and after it crashed not ever expecting anyone to survive it. “It wasn’t until they read in the paper the next day that both the pilot and the passenger survived,” Jennifer related.

The wife eventually was able to find the pilot’s number and get in touch with him to let him know that they had prayed for them. The foursome all met later for the first time. Isaac, 18, has now graduated from Air Academy High School at the U. S. Air Force Academy and is currently attending the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs where he is enrolled in the criminal justice program.