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MigBuster

Stolen plane closes Seattle-Tacoma airport before crashing

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It was all over the local and national news here last night and websites had recordings of the audio communication with the controller. What a crazy event it's not every day you go to work, steal a $35,000,000.00 USD Dash 8, take off and do an aerobatic loop, then pile drive it into the side of a deserted island. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this sad time. A rogue A&P mechanic  correction bag monkey, tow qualified, ramp agent gainfully employed with a valid right to be on the ramp and in the aircraft, hard to protect against that kind of loss.

  

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So the wife and I are outside the house, we live in Tacoma, and "BOOM" this F-15 tops the house at full burner about 1000 feet! We get a call from my co-worker Levi in Stilicomb….

"Dan! Did you see that Alaska turbo-prop? Some guy hijacked a plane out of SEATAC!"

Holy....shit.....all we could think about was that Pearl Jam was working Safeco field and some guy's flying this stolen plane. I have Levi on the phone, he's driven a few blocks down the street to Puget Sound....

"Holy fuck! The guy just rolled the plane and he missed the water by...….fuck!" 

My wife has King 5 news on, she's in the house screaming updates while I'm on with Levi....."Where is he now?"

"He's gone south man! Two F-15's are on his ass!"

I'd say the whole thing from start to the time he crashed on Ketron Island was about 40 minutes/

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How long did it take for the F15s from Portland to arrive on scene? Once they were scrambled they had to jump into flight suits, get to the ready aircraft, start, taxi, and takeoff. The 143 miles between Portland and Tacoma the F15s could have flown in less than 10 minutes (assuming top speed full burn) but I'm still thinking they were at least 20 minutes out from the first ring of the phone, which by the way had to take at least 5 minutes itself to coordinate through all those agencies. So I'm thinking 25-30 minutes from the Q400 unauthorized takeoff to the F15s arriving on scene, locating, and identifying this aircraft. 25-30 minutes is a long time if you think about it. He could have flown to Canada in that much time. Thoughts, input?

 

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Only thoughts at the minute are wondering what flight or sim experience the pilot had. 

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Erik, until you mentioned Portland, which made me look up, I did not realize that the Air Force does not have fighters at McChord anymore.

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2 hours ago, MigBuster said:

Only thoughts at the minute are wondering what flight or sim experience the pilot had. 

Majestic built a pretty realistic Dash 8 Q400 for FSX and there's plenty of videos on YouTube on it's full operation. This guy had plenty of time in a sim there's no doubt.

 

1 hour ago, KJakker said:

Erik, until you mentioned Portland, which made me look up, I did not realize that the Air Force does not have fighters at McChord anymore.

Yeah it makes absolutely no sense why they took the fighters out of McChord but the news reported the F15s departed Portland. I was just parroting their reporting. Still 25-30 minutes to be on scene sounds like an eternity to me.

 

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"which by the way had to take at least 5 minutes itself to coordinate through all those agencies"

 

on a scramble that's about 5 seconds......

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I don't see how minimum of one controller, at least one tower supervisor, and a minimum of 4 phone patches through to NORAD all qualified with at least a minimum amount of the story (unauthorized departure 16C KSEA Q400 0236Z, pilot communicating, south departure, radar contact 5000AGL over Nisqually Reach) is going to happen in 5 seconds but I'll take your word for it, respectfully. 

On another note another aircraft reported the Q400 taking off 16C with left and right mains smoking, sounds like a parking brake left on. That's why pilots use checklists.

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