Lynyrd Skynyrd plane crash survivor Paul Welch talks with NFBC News.

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Paul Welch was a sound engineer for Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1977. His account of the crash is amazing and sad too. This is a 15 minute clip of the full interview available in the Nashville page.. See links below for the FULL 40 MINUTE INTERVIEW. Interview by Jim Ball of for The Nashville Page.

Paul Welch and Jim just happen to know each other, so the interview is a little more relaxed.

This interview was done in January of 2011

PART ONE: 20 Minutes:

PART TWO: 15 Minutes:


79tazman says:

Most planes are checked by the stick in the tank and then added to what
they are putting in to the weight of the passengers and gear it’s not a car
you just don’t fill the tanks all the time because if there is a crash all
that fuel can burn and you can’t land with a lot of fuel on board most jets
dump fuel if they need to land in a emergency

biggun61 says:

I remember when it happened ,i was in high school & was lucky enough to see
them & ted nugent before this , that was one of the best shows i ever saw.

scott king says:


imabonjovigirl says:

yes he does, very much so.

Dave Smith says:

If the crash hadn’t killed them the cigarettes would’ve.

Lori Walters says:

I would love to see the rest of this but am not, finding the link :(

treblejunkie says:

I recall 2 weeks after this worst day in music history. Wake up in traction
from a MVA induced coma after getting whammied by a Chrysler Newport on a
backstreet only to hear that Ronnie, Steve & Cassie was dead…and no
Lynyrd Skynyrd Street Survivors concert in Toronto in November 1977.

Steve Gacovino says:

This must’ve been one of the most defining moments in his life and the
impact that had on the music business, especially Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Gacovino Lake says:

This was one of the most tragic losses in the music industry in the 20th

MrGeanux says:

Cant you smell that smell we are on fire !!… dam… why why did they have
to die….

chopperbubba says:

Sorry to say but using a stick to dip in the tanks is a common practice,
even till this day. In fact, it is also the most reliable way to determine
whether or not there is any water in the fuel by applying a special paste
on the stick. It has nothing to do with the airworthiness of the plane. 

katherine bringle says:

I don’t know if anyone else listens to WMMR, but he played Free Bird in
Vinyl today.. Wow, I remember playing air guitar (with a tennis racquet) at
Juniata College in 1978/1979. When I came home today, sat in the car for
five minutes until the end, It;s sacreligious to turn Free Bird off until
the end..!

opgerotteflikkerop says:

I met Paul today!!! very nice guy!

Jerad Greger says:


Mike Shepherd says:

Very sad day for rock music 

joey anderson says:

He is lying the guy never put any gas in the airplane, I hate it that this
happen but truth be told the plane ran out of gas!!!!!!

Albert Bodt says:

The Pilot in charge should have refused to fly with the aircraft in less
than safe condition.

stutsenum says:

Why did thier record company not even have enough
money to send thier own mechanic?
omg such a huge loss. they were so good. freebird is a classic. legends

Ruth Mohr says:

My cousin Tommy Strom was great friends with the boys from high school..the
called him the doctor bcuz he became a pharastist.. He is gone now too!
Miss them all!!!

Jerry Jocoy says:

Godbless his heart for telling the story, , I feel his,pain, from a
terrible car accident , I was 10 years old, broke ribs, fractured spine,and
years later still would panic if braking hard, , and strokes at 30 years
old from drug Vioxx, and damn 10 years later I am still trying to figure
out who I am at ,44,& Gulf War Syndrome, but nothing, seems to kill me, no
matter how hard I try,? I am Jerry Don Jocoy

rico Sacto says:

miss L.S. my brothers!

James Wright says:

I wouldn’t have gone on that plane unless “I” Knew it was running good!!
where was the IDIOTS who r suppose to check this out, and “ANYWAY”, who was
the PILOT who should have known what was going on, (LEAN-RICH??)) , I fly
Cessnas , I know how to take off, and fuel my tanks!!!! (SO SAD!!))

william phillips says:

I never knew this about the crash. Sure sounded like the aircraft was on
borrowed time with the previous problems encountered. Not to mention,
maintenance was definitely overlooked. The “stick” that seems to be getting
the most surprise by many, is actually a calibrated item that shows the
exact level of fuel in the tank should the indicators be malfunctioning or
if there is any doubt about accuracy of the gauges. With some exceptions,
nearly every aircraft has one on-board or at least obtainable for this
purpose. Quite a few military aircraft still have and use them. It is very
accurate. Balancing of the aircraft is done by weight distribution and fuel
has an exact weight. Balanced improperly, an aircraft can be a real slug
for response of the controls or can be an over responsive handful. Either
can cause a crash very easily. The Center of Gravity must be correct for
safe flight. Thus, the need for accurate fuel quantity indication. They
“Dip” the Tanks when in doubt to get the weight and balance right.
All aircraft reciprocating engines have an adjustable fuel mixture and, for
each engine individually. It is quite common to find one mixture lever not
quite lined-up with the others in the case of more than one engine. An
engine with a weak magneto (all have 2…a Left and Right on each engine)
will not be efficient with it’s fuel and will not produce the same amount
of power that it would have with both Magneto’s working. Magneto provides
spark to the sparkplugs and virtually all Radials as well as a majority of
others have 2 per cylinder. Take-off power usually requires “full rich” as
does climb and some other situations. Full rich really shoves a lot of fuel
down the manifold and not all of it burns in the cylinders. A weak magneto
would greatly add to this problem. A fair amount of it collects in the
exhaust manifolds and ends-up burning in the collector pipe often out past
the end of the pipe giving the impression that the engine is on fire. There
may have been some leaks in the collector joints allowing hot fuel to leak
into the cowlings and maybe ignite due to the exhaust heat and definitely
giving the impression that the engine is on fire. The fact that every
radial engine ever produced leaked oil…if there was very much fuel
leaking out around the engine, and into the often oil-soaked cowlings and
panels around the engine, things would have gotten ugly very quickly before
this incident. True engine fires are hard to extinguish and not many turn
out with a good ending. Back to the amount of fuel consumed, even a 10
minute flight with one engine running full rich can quickly deplete a
relative small amount of fuel that would most likely have taken them to
their destination with both engines functioning correctly.
The whole situation is so sad in that it could have easily been prevented.
LS will live on in my book. I grew-up with them and still listen to them.
Some of the members may be gone but, I’ll not forget them. Music as a whole
would be greatly lacking if they had never been or had never put things
back together. They influenced so many people and gave pure music enjoyment
to so many of us.

Kimbra Holbrook says:

I can’t believe ANY pilot, would even consider that aircraft flight
worthy…they stuck A stick in the fuel tank to see how much fuel they
had…WTH?? I will never get on a plane…that they checked the fuel with A
stick just now! Whaaat?? And then to risk such precious lives, and break
the hearts of a billion others. This never should have happened. The most
senseless, avoidable, tragic accident to ever happen in the history of Rock
and Roll.Next to the Buddy Holley plane crash. Look at that ridiculous
excuse of A plane they got on in a storm…Who OK’d that??! Cuz I’m just
wondering if they’ve ever been certified to work on planes or if they’re
just trouble-shooting like they do the Toyota?? They need strickter rules
and regulations.

Sandy Davisson says:

Yes, I am super serious. 

Cody Francisco says:

William Phillips the spammer (a commenter story.)

Dennis LaCour says:

Right on Paul God bless you!

April Gosa says:

Ronnie told his Daddy he would not live to 30 sadly he was right 

A145084 says:

What a shame. That plane never should have taken off.

sjds51 says:

I would have changed planes!

Maury George says:

Mr. Welch, The Band, and Ronnie were, and are my Hero’s… thank you for
this.. I can tell you to this day, when and where I was when I heard the
news.. and I miss them.. to this day..!!

Frank McConville says:

Sad !!

auntwayne says:

Remember this day ? I do .

Blake Southerland says:

aerosmith had the chance to buy this plane originally and turned it down
because they felt it was a piece of junk and unsafe to fly

Sandy Davisson says:

I wish that I could as a fan, even today, bring a Class Action lawsuit
against the owners of this plane and L&J Leasing. My whole world has been
traumaticly changed because of this blunder. We as fans have some rights as
far as pain and suffering and the tragedy that haunts me to this day.

Colleen Jarvis says:

Why did they use a plane that had obvious mechanical problems….so sad.

davidallenroth says:

should the pilots have been brought up on manslaughter charges?

HardcoreAmericanUSA says:

R.I.P. fallen legends of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

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