Joe Masessa’s Plane Crash

20 Nov

I am writing this post because someone has reached out to me anonymously about Joe’s plane crash.

First, let me say that for anyone who reaches out to me, I will protect your confidence if that is your wishes and nothing you say to me will show up here.

I am writing this because they read my posts about Joe’s plane crash and then reached out. I am wondering if there’s anyone else with information who wants to reach out.

Let me explain some things that cannot be ruled out at this point. It’s not that I’m unemotional about this. A large part of what I do for living is computer science and it’s very analytical and we are puzzle solvers. I’m putting myself in the shoes of the NTSB and things that they would need to consider at this point. This is an investigation that needs to be solved but it will be quite difficult. Some of the items are related to Joe personally and some are related to the aircraft. Nothing can be ruled out at this point.

If anyone, absolutely anyone has an cell phone video of BEFORE the plane hit the dive, it could be very helpful in eliminating certain possibilities.

Let’s talk about the aircraft first. The Mohawk is a twin engine turbo prop plane. Although there were 380 made there are only 16 of them in flying condition left. I do understand and have personal experience with a mechanical problem coming out of no where. I flew on a Twin Commanche twin engine turbo prop for years with someone. We had two right engine failures and I’m lucky to be alive and I know that. We weren’t even out of takeoff completely when the right engine failed the last time. That is really hard to recover from. The mechanics took the whole plane apart REPEATEDLY and could not find the problem. After the second engine failure, I noticed something on the inspection and I made them take the plane apart again. That time, they found what was believed to be the cause. Mechanical problems, or what I call the ghost in the engine, can be very difficult to find on an aging aircraft. So possibility number 1 is that something mechanical happened. I do not have a pilots license through the FAA because I am not eligible because of my neck injury. I cannot pass the medical exam. I’m allowed to fly with another pilot on board.

There was an eyewitness report that the right engine was worked on before takeoff. If we had cell phone video or an eyewitness, we would probably know right now if there was any kind of right engine failture. My instinct is to say no looking at the only piece of video we have. Why? Because the plane pulls very hard to one side. I know how much a right engine failure pulls in a Commanche. With the size and force of the engines on the Mohawk, we would have seen something and all I seem to know right now is that the engines were running at the end. I can hear them. A right engine failure, can get restarted but be too late to correct. So we can’t remove this as a possibility at this time.

The next possibility is pilot error. If he went to far and the angle of the angle of attack breached 90 degrees and he reacted wrong. That could cause it. Why can we not exclude this? Because Joe did have a history with pushing things too far. Crashing the Ferrari at a high rate of speed would be an example. Sometimes pilots end up in emergency situations with the angle of attack and it catches them by surprise and one slight move in the wrong direction could be fatal. Here’s what bothers me about this scenario. The Mohawk was equipped with a special system for warning the pilot of an accelerated stall. It would be very helpful to hear from another Mohawk pilot on this issue. But this cannot be ruled out at this point.

And lastly, what can not be ruled out at this point is Joe’s head injury and the possibility of CTE. Let me explain further. I know some things about CTE because from 2008-2011 I was the Department Head of Computer Science for two campuses of WVU (West Virginia University). I think it was in 2010 I began asking who we had at the medical school who was an expert in Neurology because I had a long term serious neck injury that was getting out of control. Every expert I saw wanted to put a bunch of metal and screws in my neck. I had known far too many people at this point who had that done and ended up in a worse position. And every 7 years or so the screws tended to come loose from the cadaver bone and they had repeat surgeries.

So I was told that Julian Bailes was the Head of Neurology. He had been the team doctor for the Pittsburg Steelers and if he could keep players playing then maybe he could keep me in my career. So I went to see him. Keep in mind this is 2010. When I went to see him, this story was just starting. He starts telling me about his research. That he obtains the brains of the NFL players who have committed suicide and that he and another doctor are analyzing them. He blatantly told me the football helmet was not safe. Rent the movie “Concussion.” It’s the story that starts right about the time I met Julian. They do a good job in the movie explaining what leads to CTE. CTE occurs when the head experiences a fast driving motion forward or blows to the head. With Joe, there’s at least 2, if not more, well documented experiences with this. One was when he crashed the Ferrari at 140 MPH. His brain would have hit the skull with a high rate of force. The second, that I know of, and most damaging was when he was attacked outside of the bar and hit in the head. That is the instance where he began to feel changes in his brain after the attack.

CTE has multiple stages. Disorientation can happen in the first stage. Bad Decisions can happen in the next stage. To make a long story shorter, Suicide is what happens in the final stage. There is no cure or treatment for CTE that I am aware of at this time. Nontheless, I wanted Joe to go to Colorado and see Dr. Bailes. I heard that he had gone to Colorado after leaving WVU. Did I ever see signs of “Bad Decisions?” If I answer that honestly, yes. There were things that were said to me, that now haunt me. Could I eliminate the possibility that because of the CTE what happened might have been premeditated? I can not at this time, eliminate that as a possibility. What was going on inside his head was on a down hill slope and he knew it. Investigators, can not and should not discount this as a medical condition which might have caused the crash. He felt like he had CTE. He was a doctor. He’s the only one with a clue about what was going on inside his head. He was concerned about it. I know all that to be a fact. Did that cause this plane crash? I can not say that. I can only say that it should not be ruled out at this time.

The NTSB will have the difficult task of piecing together the plane. They need any eyewitness or anyone who has any kind of information that might be a clue as to what was going on in this case. If that right engine was worked on, they will obtain the reports. They will also look at the reports of the last annual inspection and history of the plane. They will look at Joe’s flying record and whether there were any citations.

For those of you that speculated about the ejection seat – that plane had the ejection seat removed. Because of the angle of the crash, he couldn’t have deployed it anyways.

The person who reached out to me might know something completely different about what was going on his life and it might shed some light. Could there have been something that is none of the above? I’ve personally known pilots involved in business ventures and they told me if it ever goes south, they’ll take the plane out over the ocean and nose dive it. I’ve heard those words more than once.

But, please, please, please – no one should be hesitant about coming forward. You can be as anonymous as you want. If I look at something and I think the NTSB needs to know about it. I can relay the information directly to the investigators without your identity being known.

I’m going to get a bunch of spam for listing this, but I don’t care.

My personal email addresses are and Please not the last one ends in .net.

This blog is on a very old server and thousands of emails are passed to the domain. I can not possibly read all the emails from the companies. If you sent me something important, and I seem to have missed it, send it again. I can send you back a telephone number if you would rather have a phone conversation.

The end goal is to figure out what happened. It bothers a lot of us and we know. I don’t care what I have to do to facilitate this or what I have to do to figure it out. Just remember, nothing you tell me will end up on this blog. I’m just sharing possibilities that cannot be eliminated at this time until more is known.

Please send me any information that you have that might shed some light.


If you’re not sure about what the angle of attack is you could watch this You Tube video

The Stall Speed is explained here


It was brought to my attention last night that there was an eyewitness who saw the aircraft pull A right engine failure is not out of the question.

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