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Missing PA22 found after 12 yrs

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Missing PA22 found after 12 yrs

Old 20th Oct 2002, 19:05
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Missing PA22 found after 12 yrs

Just been doing a routine scout-round of the FAA accident reports, and came across this extraordinary entry -- the second record down lists a PA22 which went missing in 1989, and hasn't been heard from in 12 years.

Seems that the aircraft vanished in rough weather in the forests of the upper peninsular of Michigan and the wreck was accidentally discovered by two hunters tracking a bear.

The pilot's son - eight years old when the accident happened - is now training to be a commercial pilot at Western Michigan University College of Aviation.

Sad story. But good to know that people can finally close the file.
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Old 20th Oct 2002, 22:54
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You'd think the FAA could find a better acronym.
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Old 21st Oct 2002, 11:13
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AP report by Mike Tyree

Strong winds whipped off Lake Superior the night of Dec. 1, 1989, slinging frozen rain and snow flurries into the path of Escanaba-bound pilot Karl Warm.

Warm, 37, an experienced pilot and mechanic, battled the rough conditions and pushed his small Piper aircraft home after running a charter flight from Sault Ste. Marie to Cheboygan. As the weather worsened, he considered setting down at the small Manistique airport, but instead veered to the northeast, toward the larger airport in Sault Ste. Marie.

Suddenly Warm, married with two young children, disappeared in the vast forested swamps of the Upper Peninsula, his whereabouts a mystery for nearly 13 years.

On Sunday, two hunters tracking a bear southeast of the village of Curtis stumbled across the wreckage of a small plane. Inside the cockpit were Warm's remains, authorities said.

The discovery answered many questions, stirred emotions and offered a measure of comfort to family and friends, said his wife, Connie Ness.

"For me, it just brought back a whole wash of very sad thoughts," she said Tuesday. "For Kevin and Carol (their children) and his family, it meant a lot to find him."

Kevin Warm was 8 when his father disappeared. Today, he's studying to be a commercial pilot at Western Michigan University's College of Aviation.

"He loved flying, and I guess it does the same thing for me," said Kevin Warm, who as a boy flew with his father.

Warm someday hopes to visit the scene of his father's last landing, but for now he's trying to get over the shock of the discovery.

"I guess in the long run it'll be good. Definitely right now, it's bringing everything back like yesterday."

Ness, also a pilot and flying instructor, remarried after her husband vanished. She recalled how the U.P.'s aviation community rallied to help find the missing man, searching by air and land despite the onset of a wicked winter storm.

"That was one of the phenomenal things," she said. "There were lots of people who wanted to get involved."

Randy Gascon, a mechanic at the Delta County Airport in Escanaba, was one of the searchers.

"I had gone up flying with Karl plenty of times," Gascon said. "He was a good guy, a good pilot, a good instructor. That was a pretty rough time."

Warm and his wife spent their early years together flying across the United States, said Pat Waeghe, the sister of Dennis Ness, whom Connie later married. The couple would fly from port-to-port, stay a day or a week, then zoom off for another adventure.

"They literally lived in that airplane," Waeghe said. "They flew all over the country."

Waeghe remembered the disbelief that accompanied word that Warm was lost.

"It was like, 'Karl couldn't have gone down. He was too good."' she said.

Carl Hawkins, Mackinac County Medical Examiner, said the plane was upside down when discovered. No one doubts the remains are Warm's but Hawkins said he planned to finalize the identification by late Tuesday.

"I'll sign this off as multiple trauma, from that high impact," he said, adding that Warm likely died instantly.

Hawkins said the crash site was more than a mile off the nearest road and tucked away in thick cover.

"It's your typical northern Michigan cedar swamp," he said.

Federal Aviation Administration investigators were expected to visit the crash site Tuesday and will issue a report that finally closes the case.
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Old 22nd Oct 2002, 06:29
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Reminds me of a similar story from Australia in the 80s. An Air Force pilot had ejected a couple of hundred mile north of Sydney. The search crews never found the wreckage of the jet, but they did find a crashed light aircraft that nobody new was missing.
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Old 22nd Oct 2002, 12:15
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It sounds as though 'pushing his small Piper home' may have been the sensible thing to do
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Old 22nd Oct 2002, 15:42
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One of the longest "lost" aircraft was a Lockheed Lodestar - Trans Canada Air Lines (Flight 3), crashed near Vancouver in 1947, with 15 on board. Apparently "...within sight of the airport", the wreckage was not discovered until 1994!

Still looking for more details.

Last edited by newswatcher; 22nd Oct 2002 at 16:20.
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Old 22nd Oct 2002, 15:43
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Only thing that puzzles me is why didn't the ELT activate...?
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Old 22nd Oct 2002, 21:15
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nopax,thanx were they mandatory in '89?
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Old 24th Oct 2002, 01:31
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Only thing that puzzles me is why didn't the ELT activate...?

It's unfortunately common for ELTs not to activate (except when landing hard, when they enjoy going off), and sometimes the crash will break them.

Not long ago a plane went down near Van Nuys (20 miles from LAX) and not a single ground facility in the LA Basin picked up the transmitting ELT. It took a satellite many miles above to raise the alarm.
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Old 24th Oct 2002, 12:40
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Thumbs up

Yeah, it does make sense now; the report does mention a high impact. Thanks for that.
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