I am an Alaskan and like most Alaskans that day we heard about the plane crash we pretty much constanty discussed the issue and still are.
Ted Stevens has done so much for Alaska over the years that even though everyone knows he's probably corrupt they still voted for him in the last
election against Mark Begich. Ted's big corruption lawsuit was ongoing at the time of the election and he still just barely lost against Mark
Begich. That's how loved he was up here.
Anyone that lives up here knows who GCI is. If you have cable TV, you probably have GCI cable. If you have broadband cable modem it is probably
through GCI. They also have cellular phone service and digital land-line service. I first heard that GCI employees had died the same day the plane
crash was a big story in the news. I had heard "through the grapevine". I actually knew about the GCI employees before we knew that Ted Stevens
A very close friend of mine works for GCI, which is the company that owned the plane that crashed. GCI also owns the fishing cabin that the plane
took off from that afternoon. Apparently, they put off the flight until later in the day because of the weather. They were flying out to a separate
fishing camp in Dillingham to fish for silvers (silver salmon) when the plane inexplicably went down.
I've been reading all the news stories and trying to wrap my head around this plane crash and alot that is just now coming to light really makes you
pause and wonder what the heck really happened.
First, I found a video on Fox News tonite that showed the crash scene but it doesn't seem to be working now.
Incredible Video of Erie Crash Aftermath
But here are some things that don't add up..
I read this on Fox News:
NTSB: Alaska plane carrying former Sen.
Ted Stevens had system to alert pilot of land ahead
The plane that crashed into an Alaskan mountainside and killed former Sen. Ted Stevens and four others was outfitted with an alert system that
warned pilots of dangerous terrain.
This alert system was mostly still experimental. From what I understand, Ted Stevens was a big proponent of this particular terrain alert system and
for improving air safety in Alaska in general. From what I've heard, the system costs around 10,000 dollars to install.
It is horrible but ironic that he was such a big part of improving air safety and the aircraft outfitted with the very same system ended up crashing
into a mountainside.
Did the system fail? Was it turned off?
The plane was also equipped with an emergency locator transmitter, Hersman said at a news conference in Anchorage Friday. When properly
registered, it issues a distress signal to a control center via satellites and provides registration information, such as the owner's name. She added
that it was also unclear why that signal didn't activate.
But it is clear that the signal never activated and the system failed miserably.
It is possible that the system could have been damaged or destroyed in the crash. The whole front of the aircraft pretty much disentegrated anyway.
However, this is just another safety measure that was installed on the plane for the specific purpose of improving air safety.. And it didn't work
when it was needed.
SO.. Was it also intentionally disabled or turned off? Was it damaged or destroyed in the crash? Strange..
Hersman told reporters that one of the survivors described Monday afternoon's crash by saying: "They were flying along, and they just
The same survivor said he didn't notice any changes in the plane's pitch or hear any unusual engine sounds right before the plane went down about 20
miles north of Dillingham in southwest Alaska.
We know the plane crashed into a steep mountainside. But why wouldn't the pilot have been given a warning by the terrain sensing system?
We know weather played a huge role in this crash. When the fog gets dense up here, it is almost impossible to see even a few feet from you. I'm not
saying its impossible for the pilot to crash into a hillside on a foggy day. I'm just saying that the aircraft was outfitted with hardware designed
to prevent this from happening and it crashed anyway. Not only that but the satellite distress system didn't work?
Hersman said one survivor recalled that the group decided during lunch at the GCI-owned lodge to head to the fishing camp, a trip that
had been put off in the morning due to poor weather.
The survivor said conditions had improved by the afternoon. He said he fell asleep about 10-15 minutes into the flight and woke up after the crash,
He woke up AFTER the crash? Holy cow!@! I don't know about you, but flying in one of these planes in inclement weather with zero visibility would
make it impossible for me to sleep a wink on one of these flights.
My close GCI friend said he actually stayed at the GCI cabin once and the flight in the otter (possibly the very same plane) that he experienced was
described as the worst flying experience of his life. One of those "near death experience" kinds of flights that some of you might've experienced
over the years.
Not impossible for someone to sleep but, again, highly unlikely.
GCI spokesman David Morris said about 13 people originally came to the lodge Aug. 7 for what was "primarily a Stevens trip."
For years, the 86-year-old Stevens used GCI's lodge to show politicians and regulators what life in rural Alaska was like.
Apparently the cabin was built for the specific purpose of GCI pandering/grooming politicians. I first heard about this infamous GCI cabin about a
2-3 years ago but when I was told about it I got the sense that it was kind of a "hush-hush" type of thing that I shouldn't discuss with
Now that I see what kind of people stay at the cabin, I understand.
You can imagine what people would think if they found out about all this a few years ago.. Politicians flying out corporate heads and their families
along with federal regulators and other politicians out to the middle of nowhere to fish for salmon and discuss politics. That is, unless you didn't
take them too! I hear the fishing is remarkable.
Smith was a temporary replacement for the regular pilot, who had unexpectedly quit, Morris said. Smith was a longtime pilot for Alaska
Airlines — retiring in 2007 after 28 years — and was qualified to fly the float plane and to fly in that part of the country, Morris said.
Hersman said Smith was estimated to have had 10 hours of air time in the float plane that crashed and another 35 hours in the same type of plane. He
had thousands of hours in both single and dual engine amphibious aircraft.
Hersman said Smith didn't request a weather briefing before departure. However, investigators have been told there was Internet service at the camp
and he may have checked conditions that way.
First, Smith was a seasoned pilot and knew exactly what he was doing. But does this make sense to you? This guy was probably one of the most amazing
pilots in the world and he's going to rely on information and forecasts over the internet? I'm sure it probably happens alot up here in Alaska but
it still seems odd.
Second, GCI needed a pilot for this "VIP" visit to their cabin and didn't want to let anyone down. Terry was an amazing pilot and probably perfect
for the job. But he was also a temporary pilot. Had he even flown the route before? Did he know what the terrain was like near the landing site?
Maybe he disabled the terrain system and underestimated the thickness of the fog. Alot of questions.. Not alot of answers.
I'm sure more about the crash will come to light when the NTSB is done with their investigation but alot of this just leaves me scratching my