Alright amateur, and not so amateur investigators I have a little challenge for everyone. I have been contacted recently by a source asking some
questions about the crash of N27RA in March of 2004. Apparently there is some question as to the actual cause of the accident, and they were curious
what I could find out.
According to the official report, on March 16, 2004, Beechcraft N27RA departed McCarren International with 19 passengers on board. They made the
first stop, where 15 passengers deplaned. The aircraft with 4 passengers and pilot remaining onboard departed at 0343L for the Tonopah Test Range
airport. The pilot radioed ahead to have the runway lights turned on during his approach. At just before 0400L he reported runway lights in sight
and began a right turn to perform an overhead approach, and line up for a straight in approach to the runway. During this turn, the pilot appears to
have suffered from sudden cardiac death, which allowed the aircraft to go into a descent, and impact the ground. Killed in the crash were pilot David
D. Palay Sr, Derrick L. Butler, Michael L. Izold, Daniel M. Smalley, and Roy A. Van Voorhis. The aircraft impacted 7 miles short of the runway, which
seems an awfully long way away from the runway for a standard overhead approach.
According to the AIB report summary, the pilot willfully ingested inappropriate medications, suppressed significant medical information, and deceived
flight medical examiners in the face of a deteriorating and dangerous medical condition.
Now at this point, everything seems pretty straightforward. You have a simple case of a pilot suffering a massive and sudden coronary event after
hiding a heart condition for who knows how long, from the flight surgeons. But then the information I received took a bit of a left turn.
According to my source (who prefers to remain anonymous, as so many of my sources lately do, which I have no problem with), due to the time of the
crash, the wreckage was not found for several hours after the crash. The reason given was that no one was expecting the aircraft to arrive at that
time. Now this seems pretty inconsistent with the fact that the pilot had to call ahead and have the runway lights turned on for his arrival. If
they have to turn the lights on, you would think that they would be expecting a plane wouldn't you? And if it didn't show up, wouldn't they get a
little suspicious that something had happened?
Another point brought up was that the SAR unit for that area was out on an exercise that day, and wasn't available to look for them until much later.
Now this isn't uncommon as training happens, but unless it was an overnight exercise, 0400 seems awfully early for them to be out in the field
The third thing brought up is that there was a passenger (former EG&G JT3 employee's daughter) who was supposed to be one of the passengers on the
flight. She apparently missed the flight that day, or called in sick, but for whatever reason, wasn't on the plane.
The last point was that the autopsy supposedly found drugs in his system, and the Air Force had his office searched with drug sniffing dogs, without
finding a hint of anything. He may have just been very careful, but it may also be that there was nothing to find.
Our mission, which I have chosen to task you with helping (since I'm going to do my best to do it anyway because I love this sort of thing), is to dig
into this crash as best we can with the resources that we have, and try to discover or determine any oddities to the crash. Let's see if we can
figure out if this is what really happened, or if something more nefarious, or just something that they wanted covered up happened. Something is
rotten in Denmark, and I want to try to find out just what it is.
edit on 5/30/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason
edit on 31-5-2013 by Gazrok because: (no reason given)