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Findings on Jan 2001 DC-3 Alaska crash

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Findings on Jan 2001 DC-3 Alaska crash

Old 23rd Jan 2002, 20:51
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Post Findings on Jan 2001 DC-3 Alaska crash

Cargo pilot had cocaine in his blood. .Two died when DC-3 crashed in 2001 near Unalaska. . .By Lucas Wall, Anchorage Daily News. .(Published: January 23, 2002)

[quote]The pilot of a DC-3 cargo plane that crashed last January near Unalaska had cocaine in his blood and his first officer was taking anti-depressants without FAA knowledge, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The recently released report, which is a finding of facts, does not assign a probable cause for the Majestic Air Cargo crash, which killed captain Jody Pond, 53, and first officer Angela Drennan, 39, who was also Pond's girlfriend.

It has been submitted to the safety board by Scott Erickson, an NTSB investigator in Anchorage, who said the board typically issues a final report within two months.

It is rare to find illegal drugs in the blood of pilots involved in crashes, Erickson said.

The Majestic DC-3 struck a 1,500-foot mountain about 4 1/2 miles northwest of Unalaska after a nighttime take-off one year ago today. The two pilots were the only people aboard and were flying a shipment of cod sperm to Anchorage.

A toxicological examination of Pond's blood found 0.062 micrograms per milliliter of cocaine, according to the report, and cocaine metabolites were found in his blood and urine. Erickson said he could not speculate about how much cocaine Pond had taken or when he took it.

Pond had a prior substance abuse problem, the report states. He was convicted in 1985 of conspiracy and distribution of cocaine and served four years in federal prison. He regained his FAA medical certificate in 1991 and founded Majestic in 1997. He served as president and operations director for the small, two-plane cargo company.

Majestic's phone number is disconnected. The company went out of business after the crash, employees at other local air cargo companies said Tuesday.

An analysis found Drennan's blood contained amitriptyline and nortriptyline, two mood-altering antidepressant drugs. Pilots are required to inform the FAA of any prescriptions they are taking. Drennan did not do that, according to the report.

In 1988, the FAA revoked Drennan's medical certificate due to a history of seizures. She appealed to an NTSB administrative law judge, which reversed the decision in 1991, allowing her to continue flying.

Both pilots had been involved in previous crashes. Pond crash-landed a DC-3 in 1998 in a swamp near Point MacKenzie after running out of fuel.

His pilot's certificate was suspended for 45 days. Later that year, a DC-3 piloted by Pond was damaged while landing in Anchorage. Drennan was the first officer in both incidents.

The Jan. 23, 2001, crash near Unalaska was the first of eight fatal aviation incidents in the state last year. The NTSB has not yet released factual reports about or determined the probable cause of the year's seven other crashes.<hr></blockquote>
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Old 23rd Jan 2002, 23:29
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Sounds as though she had reason to take the anti-depressants...
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Old 26th Jan 2002, 05:34
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Pilot's criminal past does not prevent him from flying

MSNBC. Anchorage, Alaska, Jan. 24 - Not many pilots will say the Federal Aviation Administration needs to heighten their enforcement. But the regulation concerning people with serious criminal convictions does not prevent them from flying or owning their own air carrier. . . . .The FAA said if those with criminal convictions want to do so, there is little they can do to stop the people. Flight instructors will say that safe flying is all about judgement. But what does is say about a person's judgement when they have a felony conviction on their record.

Last year, pilot Jody Pond died after crashing his DC-3 near Dutch Harbor. Investigators found cocaine in Pond's blood and urine. The results are not the first time Pond has been associated with drugs. In 1985, it turns out he was convicted of cocaine trafficking and he spent four years in a federal prison.. . . .FAA spokeswoman Joette Storm said the agency revoked Pond's license, but, by law, they had to re-instate it. "If a pilot has been convicted of a drug offense, we automatically move for revocation," Storm said. "But within a one-year's time that pilot can re-apply and if he or she can demonstrate their ability to fly the aircraft, they can get the certificate back. That's what the law says.". . . .Pond also crashed a DC-3 in 1998 when it ran out of gas just shy of Anchorage. That reportedly resulted in a 45-day suspension, but, again, Pond was allowed to fly.. . . .Pond is not the only pilot with a suspicious flying history. In July of 2000, Keith Kirsch committed suicide by flying a Cessna 172 into Prince William Sound. Kirsch was able to obtain a pilot's license despite an arson conviction for firebombing a Spenard restaurant. His record also shows that he was charged with driving while intoxicated.. . . .Storm said only a when an airplane is used in the commission of a crime can a pilot permanently lose his or her certificate. "If an individual commits a crime and is convicted and it involved the use of an aircraft, for example the transport of drugs in that commission of that crime, we move to revoke and the revocation is permanent," said Storm. . . . .Storm also said the agency largely relies on pilots being honest about their past convictions when they fill out their applications. So, how many other pilots are flying in Alaska with past criminal convictions? The FAA does not know.
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