Not much has changed since then in that regard. Jonz answered, “Affirmative,” though the NTSB concluded the plane didn’t have an ELT or survival gear on the plane, and Jonz’ portable ELT unit, which was an acceptable alternative at the time, was later found in a different airplane at Pan Alaska’s home base in Fairbanks. In its report, the NTSB details the search of Portage Pass, writing, “Much of the Portage Pass area was also searched twice by ground personnel,” though the statement leaves out that much of that terrain is steep, heavily forested and glaciated—in other words, unsearchable. Also, in the hours and days following the disappearance of the plane, several independent ham radio operators in Northern California reported hearing a transmission from someone on the downed aircraft broadcasting there were survivors on the plane. Editor-in-Chief Isabel Goyer is an award-winning aviation journalist and editor who has been flying since she was a kid. But there’s a new theory of the crash, or, rather, an old theory with a lot of new evidence, some of it shocking. Plane and Pilot expands upon the vast base of knowledge and experience from aviation’s most reputable influencers to inspire, educate, entertain and inform. With more than 400 different models of aircraft in her logbook, she has flown everything from paragliders to Gulfstreams, so she writes about flying from real-world experience. A pilot, co-pilot and seven passengers were on board the. © 2020 Madavor Media, LLC. That said, one would expect that the pilot would have continued to communicate with controllers after having cleared the pass and headed out over Prince William Sound, if indeed the plane made it that far, but that’s not necessarily a safe assumption. But by 1972, the enforcement action was a distant memory. Regardless, the flight, for however long it lasted, was officially a Visual Flight Rules affair, though Jonz, based on his writings about avoiding icing conditions, wouldn’t have hesitated to jump on the gauges to stay out of or get out of trouble by flying in the clouds for a bit, and by all accounts he would have done so expertly, had the need arisen. While its focus is general in nature, it discusses in passing the disappearance of N1812H.) Remember that, in 1972, flying in small planes was a very different thing than it is today. Many observers, myself included, still see the NTSB’s theory, that the plane crashed after encountering bad weather—icing, low ceilings, bad turbulence and poor visibility were all predicted along the route of flight—as the best and most likely explanation. “A Cessna 310C, N1812H,” the report said, “operated by the chief pilot of Pan Alaska Airways, departed from Anchorage International Airport, Alaska, at 08:59. It’s likely, though far from certain, that when Jonz headed out from Fairbanks the day before the fateful flight, he simply forgot to grab the portable unit from the other airplane and didn’t realize it until he was already on his way to Anchorage, or already there. In addition to the air operation, ground patrols searched Portage Pass twice. Video: Wanna See How To Wheel-Land A Beaver? The addition of boots and other anti-ice equipment does indeed lower the likelihood of a weather-related crash, at least by a little. Fittingly, perhaps, the recording of that radio call also has been lost. Pasley followed the instructions and then flew back to Arizona the following day. Officials terminated the search for the airplane on Nov. 24 and declared the four men dead on Dec. 29. And it all yielded nothing. All rights reserved. The smell of vaporized airplane fuel hung over the camp for hours. Was it ice that brought the plane down, or could it have been something more explosive? Grimes said when he returned to Anchorage from his interview with Pasley in the Arizona prison, he immediately contacted an FBI agent he knew in Anchorage. Portage Pass was again forecast to be closed, and moderate rime icing was forecast to exist in clouds from 6,000 to 15,000 feet over the Cook Inlet area.”. The FAA found that the plane was over its maximum allowable weight by 700 pounds and temporarily revoked Jonz’ Airline Transport Pilot certificate for the lack of a permit for the flight. Once past the obstacles and cruising along, there would’ve been no reason for Jonz to communicate with ATC, at least not until he got to Juneau, and we do know that never happened. The man said he had access to experimental electronic equipment, and he provided detailed directions to the coordinates of the downed airplane. Jonz was a military veteran with 17,000 hours of flight time, and he logged 15 years as a pilot in Alaska. This is an assertion that looks to be in error. When the plane didn’t arrive in Juneau and was declared missing, the U.S. launched the largest search-and-rescue mission on record up until that time.”. Portage Pass to Yakutat is just a straight shot over open country; you can fly a bit inland or stay out over the Gulf; that is just time and compass setting flying, with nothing to hit really. The marriage was short-lived, and two of Nick and Pegge Begich’s children went on to become respected legislators, including former United States Senator Mark Begich, who also served as mayor of Anchorage. There was no evidence of Jonz having made it through the pass, though Walczak, again, has dug up reports from locals in Whittier, a small fishing town shoehorned into a cranny in the north short of Prince William Sound, that they heard the sound of a small plane flying overhead around the time that the Cessna 310 would have transited that area. It was in Florida, in 1966, where he made a forced landing on a freeway in another small plane, a Piper Cherokee, and clipped a car in the process. The search encompassed massive glaciers and the jagged Wrangell and St. Elias Mountain ranges, as well as a large portion of the coastlines of Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska. And there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the plane crashed in bad weather, as many hundreds of other planes have crashed over the years in Alaska, though, again, there is no direct evidence to support that theory either. No piece of the aircraft was located during the initial search or since, and officials at the … Townspeople who hear the weather plane crash are foiled at rescue attempts by searing heat. Soon after the plane went missing, fingers were pointed at Jonz, in part because he had been involved in a couple of forced landings before. See map It only gets complicated after Yakutat and the descent into Juneau, and there is a good bit of aluminum on the Chilkats. Alaska is immense, by far the largest state in the union, and it’s very sparsely populated. In addition to poor visibility, the forecast called for icy rain and fierce headwinds en route. Among the required items were two weeks of food for everyone aboard, an ax or hatchet, a first-aid kit, a firearm of some sort and the ammunition for it, fishing gear, anti-mosquito headwear and flares or other signaling devices. Crashed with 56th WRS. Mysteries abound in the last frontier about airplanes vanishing into thin air without leaving a clue to their fate. Fresh out of its regular 100-hour maintenance check and fully fueled up again in Anchorage for the charter flight, the 1959 Cessna 310C was in game shape for the planned 575-mile jaunt down to Juneau. Plane & Pilot Photo Of The Week For Friday, December 4, 2020. But until some far more convincing evidence emerges, the most likely explanation is the simplest one, that the plane crashed after encountering bad weather. Home; Map of crashes; List by state; About; Alaska fatal crash map View a list of all crashes in Alaska Plane and Pilot builds on more than 50 years of serving pilots and owners of aircraft with the goal of empowering our readers to improve their knowledge and enthusiasm for aviation. He knows for a fact that ice is a danger, writing at one point, “There isn’t an airplane alive that can handle prolonged heavy icing, 707s included,” and he includes a list of common-sense, step-by-step measures to take should you encounter ice. ... Small plane crash at Capital Region Toggle header content. The three men planned to attend an election rally for Begich in Juneau. So could the wreckage have been in the pass all along? On Oct. 16, 1972, a Cessna 310C with the tail number N1812H, operated by Pan Alaska Airways, disappeared somewhere between Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska. Alaska held a special election, and the voters chose Republican Don Young, who initially lost to Begich. When I first heard about the piece, in Walczak’s podcast and elsewhere, it was discussed as an irresponsible take on flying in icing conditions, and a couple of quotes were pulled from the piece that do indeed give that impression. The plane seemed fine. Another major theory is that someone planted a bomb, Missing In Alaska” is the title of a 2017 article. The plane was not, it pointed out as well, outfitted with any anti- or equipment, except for a heated pitot mast. The weather was marginal throughout the entire area on Oct. 16. The four were declared dead on Dec. 29. Even though Boggs and Begich were presumed dead, both men were re-elected to the House of Representatives. Immediately after the plane went missing, the U.S. Coast Guard station in Long Beach, California, received a call from an anonymous tipster claiming he knew where the plane crashed. And before long, the mountain sides turn to bare granite and ice. The passengers on the doomed plane were Alaska Congressman Nick Begich, 40; his aide Russell Brown, 37; and Louisiana Congressman Hale Boggs, 58, the U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader. One, of course, would be the location of the crash. He said the men told him “something big” was about to happen, and soon afterward, the plane carrying Begich and Boggs disappeared. Ten minutes after the Cessna lifted off from Anchorage, Jonz radioed the FAA Flight Service Station in Anchorage to file a flight plan. The pilot told the specialist, with whom he had spoken on the phone earlier in the morning to get a weather update, that the plan was to fly V-317 south all the way down to Yakutat, which is most of the way to Juneau, and then direct from there. Retired Anchorage Police Sergeant Mike Grimes told Walczak he was stunned by Pasley’s claims. Icing on the wings could have affected lift and maneuverability, or any combination of these factors might have caused the plane to crash. It was, indeed, the last breadcrumb of evidence left by the flight of N1812H. I don’t draw any conclusions from the brevity of the report or in the NTSB’s surprisingly thin investigation except that it might have thought it would dive into a full-fledged investigation once the wreckage was found. However, mountains rise steeply on either side of the pass to elevations between 3,000 and 6,000 feet m.s.l.”. Around 11:30 p.m. on July 23, 1970, two years before Boggs disappeared in Alaska, a Lincoln Continental ran his car off the road in Washington, D.C. Boggs chased the car, wrote down the license plate number, and called the police. And in full disclosure, I worked at that title for nearly 20 years and was editor-in-chief from 2010 until 2015. So what to make of it all? In addition, the plane should’ve been carrying a pair of snowshoes and a sleeping bag for each occupant, required between Oct. 15 and April 1. Pasley said he then moved to Anchorage and began dating Pegge Begich, a woman he met through mutual friends in Arizona. At his trial, Pasley told the jury he was ashamed he had killed people. There’s ample reason to be skeptical, but if they were true, and the plane was indeed the light Cessna twin, then N1812H made it at least to the edge of Prince William Sound on its way south. The plane came to rest on Logan just west of McPhillips Street. The search lasted 39 days and included 40 military aircraft and 50 civilian planes, covering over 325,000 square miles. Others say it must’ve made it through, or it would’ve been located. The weather was pretty bad, and Jonz knew it. Jonz, who was 38, had changed his name earlier in his life to distinguish himself from the many thousands of other “Don Joneses” in the world. Boggs had served on the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of President Kennedy, and despite being from the Deep South, he was an ardent supporter of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s landmark civil rights legislation. The evening before, the pilot had flown the light twin-engine Cessna down from Fairbanks just for this flight. But it wasn’t just any flight. Juneau also had fog. Before you dismiss that link out of hand, know this. Did the plane hit a mountain obscured by fog, or did turbulence play a role in the disaster? The route of flight Jonz planned went through Portage Pass, an almost mile-wide low-altitude valley barely 6 miles long that runs from Turnagain Arm, an eastern extension of Cook Inlet, and Passage Canal, which is part of Prince William Sound. Plane crash map Locate crash sites, wreckage and more. Instead, the pilot reported that he “encountered moderate to severe turbulence at 500 feet m.s.l., headwinds of 55 knots, and broken to overcast cloud conditions 200 to 300 feet above him. It was rare for Cessna 310s of that vintage to be outfitted with boots, and the mechanic’s recollections were based on nearly-50-year-old memories, but the evidence is convincing. Pasley died in prison in 2010 at the age of 69. Searchers were never able to pinpoint the location of the origin of these transmissions, and investigators concluded the broadcast was likely a hoax. The airplane, N1812H, was a 1959 Cessna 310C, a light twin-engine four/five-seat plane that was equipped with two fuel-injected Continental IO-470 six-cylinder engines of 260 hp apiece, which was an upgrade for that model year. Pasley agreed to take a polygraph, but no evidence exists to indicate the FBI ever administered one to him. Young is still Alaska’s Congressman. Other investigators also told Walczak they were surprised the FBI did not vigorously investigate Pasley’s claims of a bomb. On a clear October day in 1970, travelers were making their way along Loveland A prisoner, Jerry Max Pasley (pronounced like “paisley”), a low-level mob figure in Tucson who by the mid-1990s was serving a life sentence in Arizona for an unrelated murder and bombings, told the investigators about his involvement in what might have been a plot to blow up the flight. After the jet’s wreckage was found, all questions were answered, and Steeves’ name was finally cleared, though too late—after leaving the Air Force under a cloud of suspicion, Steeves died in an unrelated plane crash several years before the discovery of the wreckage of the T-33. After 39 days, and with winter fast approaching, the search was called off on Nov. 24, which that year was the day after Thanksgiving. Photo of The Week: Our Christmas List: A $72,000 Mach .84 Jet. by: ... Portage Northern grad behind No. With tens of thousands of lakes, a rugged coastline and glaciers galore. In the podcast (available from just about any podcast app), Walczak explores the possibility that a bomb brought the flight down. In the article in the October 1972 issue, Jonz discussed the actualities of flying in icing conditions. Pasley knew he would spend the rest of his life in prison and said he wanted to come clean about several other killings, including the murder of his ex-wife’s first husband, Nick Begich. Once you hear that evidence, you’ll have a hard time dismissing the theory out of hand. He refused to say what the conversations entailed but said once his lawyers finished their investigation, he would release the details to the public. Maybe one day, we will know what happened to Pan Alaska N1812H. Without that flight plan, there would’ve been no mechanism in place to declare the flight missing, but with two United States Congressmen aboard, it surely would’ve happened anyway, though how quickly is anyone’s guess. If it were a paid flight, then it would have been a Part 135 charter operation, and as such it would have been limited to VFR, that is, flight in visual conditions, which is indeed the kind of flight plan the pilot filed. Begich was only a freshman Congressman from a sparsely populated state. To find it, search in your browser for “Flying” on Google Books, and look for the October 1972 issue. “About 0840 [19 minutes before N1812H took off from Anchorage] a U.S. Air Force Helicopter, en route from Elmendorf to Seward, was over Turnagain Arm, abeam Girdwood, about 7 miles from the Village of Portage. In April 1971, Boggs claimed the FBI tapped his telephone. So knowing the people who worked there at the time the Jonz piece was published, I found it hard to believe it would’ve been an irresponsible take on flying safely. Before he moved to Alaska full time, Jonz was involved in an incident that some find more troubling. In Robert Frost’s poem Fire and Ice, the poet weighs the pros and cons of what he guesses are the two most likely ways the world will end—either in fire or in ice. The accident was the second plane crash in Portage Pass in 24 hours. What was the terrain like? And mountainous. No record exists, though, to indicate police ever investigated the incident. If the crash report is not located, please contact the agency that investigated the crash. The pilot, himself a remarkable character, went by the name Don Jonz, though that wasn’t his original name. If Pasley knew the answers to these questions, he never told anyone. The agent told Grimes that when her boss called FBI headquarters in Washington with the information, his superiors told him, “You will do nothing there. Boggs, though, was a colorful, outspoken representative from Louisiana who likely would have become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. Moreover, the NTSB concluded that N1812H was not equipped with an emergency beacon, nor did the pilot possess a portable one. Several reports of strange radio calls and other electronic communications baffled investigators in the days following the disappearance of the Cessna 310 carrying Boggs, Begich, Brown and Jonz. If you’re from Alaska or intimately familiar with it, the thought of a plane going missing, even with national politicians aboard, and never being found despite a massive search is unsurprising. And it’s forested. Nine charred bodies are pulled from the wreckage. Some speculate that the plane never made it out of Portage Pass. Just over a year after the Begich-Boggs flight went missing, Pasley, who has since died, married Pegge Begich, the widow of the Alaska Congressman lost on the Oct. 16, 1972, flight and declared dead on Nov. 24. … Michigan Golf Pass; WLNS Buy Local; My ABC Is WLAJ. No missing airplane case is closed until substantial evidence provides information to the location of the plane. Representatives also believed their phones were tapped. While the risk of an off-airport landing was about the same then versus now, the risk of not being found after an off-airport excursion was much greater in the early 1970s. One of my first reactions upon the reading the report all these years later is that it is brief. The plane “vanished in foul weather on this day in 1972 while en route between Anchorage and Juneau.” The plane also carried Rep. Nick Begich of Alaska, his aide, and a pilot. © 2020 Madavor Media, LLC. Pasley provided details to several unsolved murders and made shocking claims, but the most surprising thing he said was that he transported a bomb to Alaska in 1972. By the end of the very short poem, he’s on the fence, saying that either one would do the job nicely. Local and breaking news reports from around the region brought to you by FOX 32 Chicago, serving the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana. The pilot intended to fly to Portage and follow the railroad tracks south to Seward.” But that didn’t happen. Despite its good load-carrying ability, N1812H was likely slightly over its max takeoff weight when it left Anchorage that morning, though the Board wrote that even if that were so, it wasn’t by much, and besides, it added, the density altitude of minus-2,000 feet MSL would have obviated any climb performance issues. It’s compelling in a dozen different ways. That Cessna, the plane’s manufacturer, was not a party to the probe is telling, in that the board, according to documentation obtained by Walczak, missed the fact that the plane was outfitted with a full suite of deicing gear. Walczak learned that on March 4, 1974, less than 17 months after the disappearance of her husband, Pegge Begich, the window of Congressman Begich, married Jerry Max Pasley, who years later was convicted of murder and bombing in connection with his with ties to the Mafia.
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