23 March 2009


item 1: alaska's mount redoubt reupted five times overnight, sending ash plumes 60,000 feet into the air. this, after governor bobby jindal of louisiana called volcano monitoring wasteful. mount redoubt is locate approximately 200 miles southwest of anchorage, on the west side of cook inlet.

item 2: a private plane carrying at least 14 people from california to ski in montana diverted from its planned destination (bozeman) and crashed in a cemetery while attempting to land at butte. several facts leap out at anyone who has read many NTSB accident reports--

~ the plane carried more people (14) than it was rated for (12), and probably too much cargo, given that it was transporting a party on a skiing outing.

~ the pilot did not refuel at his last california stop. he may have thought he had too much weight on board to take on extra fuel. if so, he set himself up for fuel starvation.

~ the last-minute cancellation of the flight plan to bozeman, diverting to butte (which is only marginally closer), suggests that the plane was indeed low on fuel.

~ finally, and fatally, the key words "turning steeply on the approach to landing" -- when your airpspeed is down, you DO NOT execute sharp turns, because you are almost certainly below stall speed, especially with a heavy load and higher altitude. what witnesses described as sudden loss of control and plunging to the ground, is precisely the consequence of a low-altitude, low-airspeed stall.

~ black irony, they crashed in a cemetery. no comment.

item 3: it is still bloody snowing in missoula!! where is spring hiding??

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