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Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Wellstone crash blamed on pilot error
The twin-propeller King Air A100 stalled when the flight crew slowed it too quickly while approaching Eveleth-Virginia Municipal Airport in northern Minnesota on Oct. 25, 2002, investigators told the National Transportation Safety Board. The plane lost altitude, veered sharply, sheared off treetops and crashed 2 1/2 miles short of the runway.
John Clark, the NTSB's director of aviation safety, said Conry and Guess were flying too high and too fast as they began their approach. They slowed down too much as they tried to make up for the mistake, he said. The plane went from 190 mph to 87 mph in the final 90 seconds of the flight.

No mechanical problems were found, so investigators concluded inattention by the pilots most likely was to blame.
-- AP

TWO pilots. Both inattentive. No mayday call. The NTSB said last year that how the pilots died did not affect the investigation. The pilots are dead; easy to blame them. But what if they were dead or incapacitated BEFORE the crash? I discussed several possibilities last year, and I don't see much in the NTSB conclusions that rules out pilot error BECAUSE THEY WERE ALREADY DEAD.

Without the Wellstone crash, the Democrats would have maintained control of the Senate. He was the second Democratic senatorial candidate ahead in the polls to die in a plane crash in two years (Mel Carnahan of Missouri, running against John Ashcroft, was killed in a plane crash in October of 2000--he won the election anyway). The Republican-led media frenzy about the Wellstone memorial service was despicable as well (see Al Franken's book for lots of details on that).

Darn right I don't trust the Republitrons. They will do, and have done, ANYTHING to get their way.