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Information Wanted About Pilotless Flights

Thu May 01, 2008 1:40 pm

Information wanted about pilotless flights

I’m researching flights in US airspace which: a) ended up being pilotless because the pilot or pilots died or became incapacitated or b) for other reasons were “no radio”/off course for extended periods of time So far I’ve discovered the following.

*1971 Yuma AZ
1980 “Bo” Rein crash
* 1982 Bitterroot Lake, MT
*1988 Memphis – Mexico, Learjet
*1989 Safford AZ, Cessna
1990 Ansonia OH, Learjet
1997 Winston MT, Piper
1997 Alton NH, Piper
*1997 Guyton GA, Cessna
1999 Payne Stewart

If any of you know about other such cases please let me know. I’m also looking for addition information about the above crashes mark with asterisks (*) beyond what I could find via Google and the NTSB.

A search of the NTSB database turns up several cases of a pilot becoming incapacitated (usually due to a heart attack) and a passenger (often his wife) being talked down by ATC’s or other pilots fairly quickly without incident. I’m not interested in any info about those cases beyond that from the NTSB except for ones which were intercepted by civilian or military aircraft.

One last question. Several of these flights continued for hundreds of miles because the plane was presumably on autopilot. Is a straight line drawn on a map from the departure airport or last known position in the air (before disaster struck) and the crash site or known location in the air (after) a reasonably accurate representation of the flight path?


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