Wellstone's Plane Gave No
Indication Of Trouble

By Bill Gardner, Phil Pina and Jim Ragsdale
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Sen. Paul Wellstone, a fiery fist-shaking liberal fighting for a third term, was killed Friday morning along with his wife, daughter, three aides and two pilots when his twin-engine campaign plane crashed into a peat bog in light snow and fog while landing at Eveleth in northern Minnesota.
The Beech King Air A-100 broke into several parts and two major sections erupted in flames, said Gary Ulman, manager of the Eveleth-Virginia Municipal Airport. All eight people aboard the aircraft died.
Ulman said there was no distress call or any indication of trouble before the plane went down about 10:20 a.m. The pilot had notified the airport that he was going to land and had clicked his microphone to turn on the landing lights.
Ulman said he went up in a private plane himself to look for the Wellstone plane after it failed to land on the runway.
"I looked to the south and saw smoke plumes," Ulman said.
He flew over the area, thick with pine and spruce trees, and saw the plane's tail had broken off.
"It was engulfed in flames," he said.
Aborted landing"
The path of the wreckage, about two miles southeast of the airport, suggested the pilot may have aborted the landing, Ulman said. He said the weather was overcast with light snow and a temperature of 31 but was well within the landing limits at the airport.
Crews had to use all-terrain vehicles to slog through the bog to the crash site, said St. Louis County Sheriff Rick Wahlberg. He said the tail and both wings had broken off, and the fire was still burning five hours after the crash.
As always, Wellstone was with his wife, Sheila, who was at his side every step of his political career. His daughter, Marcia, also died in the crash.
The others killed in the crash were Wellstone aides Will McLaughlin, Tom Lapic and Mary McEvoy and pilots Richard Conry and Michael Guess.
The Wellstone plane crash was the most deadly in Minnesota since Dec. 1, 1993, when 18 people were killed in Hibbing when a Northwest Airlink flight crashed three miles from the runway during a night landing.
The NTSB on Friday dispatched a "go-team" of about a dozen investigators to Eveleth. The team, which arrived about 8:15 p.m., was to begin investigating at first light today.
Wellstone was en route to the 11 a.m. funeral in Virginia of Martin Rukavina, father of Minnesota Sen. Tom Rukavina, D- Virginia.
NTSB records indicate there have been 26 aviation accidents in Eveleth since 1965, including three in which people died.
From Mike Robinson
Dear Jeff,
I am prompted to write in response to the comment by 'Moses' in the article 'Wellstone's plane gave no indication of trouble'. Mr Moses appears to have no knowledge of aviation whatsoever, and his comments are fankly nonsense. None of what I am about to say precludes the possibility that Wellstone was assasinated, but lets get the facts right, at least.
First of all, the weather at the time of the crash. Weather is given in the form of a METAR and the METAR at that time was as follows:
251514Z AUTO 00000KT 3SM -SN SCT004 OVC007 01/00 A3006
In plain English:
At 10:14 CDT, the wind was calm and the visibility was three statute miles in light snow. There were scattered clouds at four hundred feet, and overcast at seven hundred feet. The temperature was 1 degree Celsius, or 33 degrees Fahrenheit, and the dew point was zero degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit The altimeter was at 30.06 inches of mercury.
This was not a bright and sunny day! Cloud base was down to 400 feet, with solid clag above 700 feet.
The METARs all through that day show that barometric pressure was falling. The altimeter in an aircraft works by measuring barometric pressure... the higher the aircraft is, the lower the air pressure outside, and so this can be displayed on a guage to show your approximate height. The trouble is that air pressure changes over time, so the altimeter is only as accurate as the last time it was set with the current barometric pressure. I'm not going to go into detail here, but with barometric pressure falling at the airport, the altimeter reading would be inaccurate, and the aircraft would appear to the pilots to be higher than it actually was. Remember, with cloud base at 400 feet, they couldn't see the ground!
The temperature at ground level was 1 degree celcius. Temperature drops with height. The size of this drop is based on the 'lapse rate'. The 'lapse rate' for unsaturated air is 3 degrees per 1000 feet or so. Here we can see that the dew point is zero degrees. This means that the air was pretty well saturated. Although this reduces the lapse rate, maybe to as little as 1 degree per 1000 feet, the aircraft was undoubtedly experiencing icing conditions. This is borne out by the fact it was snowing!
To quote a contributor to the Professional Pilots Rumour Network (, a pilot who has experience of these aircraft:
"It seems to me with the conditions being poor weather and icing involved there was a good set up for a classic "Tail" stall situation. The stab on the BE 10 is low (unlike its BE20 cousin). The King Airs perfom well in moderate levels of ice but great care must be taken when getting into the approach phase. Flap selections (especially below the approach setting) must be made with great dilligence. Boots [which break up any ice formation] must be working well. Any disruption of airflow (AOA changes etc) over the tail in icing conditions can lead to disaster very quickly. The proper procedure for recovery of a tail stall is check back and reduce power. Something we are not taught in flight school. If this was the case the crew would have only seconds to react successfully."
This seems to me to be a very sad accident. The aircraft was off track, with falling barometric pressure they were quite possibly low and had less time to react to emergencies, they were oin the 'approach phase' and were in icing conditions. Like I say, none of this precludes sabotage, but comments like "A major blast must have torn the plane to pieces, the pilot did not have any chance to say ANYTHING" and "In normal crashes, the tail stays attached to the body of the plane" display total ignorance of aviation and air crashes, and simply strengthen the hand of the people that would bury any possible evidence of foul play.
Kind regards,
Mike Robinson
From Moses
How Sen. Wellstone Was Assassinated
1. Weather For Landing: 3 mile visibility, daylight. 2. Plane gave NO indication of trouble. 3. Plane fell in a remote forest area, 'ideal' in preventing ANY eyewitnesses. 4. Pilot was in constant communications with tower. All he had to do to talk to tower was push his mic button but apparently had NO TIME. 5. A major blast must have torn the plane to pieces, the pilot did not have any chance to say ANYTHING. 6. In normal crashes, the tail stays attached to the body of the plane. 7. The NWO website attacking Wellstone was removed from the internet, as soon as I found it on Google, it was removed from Google too. 8. Based on previous NWO activities we can safely speculate that the assassin was standing with the remote control in the forest about 2km from the airport. 9. The NTSB already started the cover-up, EVEN BEFORE they arrived at the crash location. They informed us that plane crashes are very common at that airport.
Grand Forks Herald


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