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Jim Fetzer: The Strange Death of Paul Wellstone


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#301 Evan Burton

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 04:06 AM

Next we need to look at aviation accidents statistics. Since it is very important to compare apples to apples, I'll only look at US aircraft operations. US commercial aircraft operations generally fall under three Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) areas:

- FAR Part 121 (major airlines)
- FAR Part 135 Scheduled (minor airlines operating to a schedule)
- FAR Part 135 On Demand (charter airlines)

The Wellstone aircraft was operating under FAR 135 On Demand, so my stats will involve only those aircraft. The figures also refer to fixed wing operations, and not helicopters.

Firstly, let have a look at the general statistics. All data has been taken from the annual NTSB Review of Aircraft Accident Data reports, available at the NTSB website (www.ntsb.gov). I have shown:

- the total number of aircraft accidents
- the number of those accidents that involved fatalities*
- the percentage of aircraft accidents that were due to pilot error
- the number of aircraft accidents that were due to loss of control during the approach to landing phase
- the number of fatal accidents that were due to loss of control during the approach to landing phase, and
- the number of fatal accidents per million flight hours

(* The number shown is not the number of fatalities but simply the number of incidents which resulted in at least one fatality)



In 2000, the NTSB changed the way it published data, so some stats aren't available. So you can still compare 2002 to previous years data, I have copied the graphs from earlier reports:





So we can now see that experienced pilots losing SA with resultant loss of control during instrument approaches - especially during marginal weather conditions - is nothing unusual. As I said previously: it's happened before and it will happen again.

Next we'll show just how incorrect Dr Fetzer's boast is:

What a nitwit! These events, each of which is relatively improbable, are all happening at the same time. Their probability of occurring together is equal to their product. That would be a very small number, indeed. I am quite confident that all of these -- or even a substantial subset -- have never occurred together before.


What is more, I'll do it without resorting to bombastic posts or ad hominem.

#302 Evan Burton

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 05:34 AM

Here are more incidents with similar circumstances to that of the Wellstone accident:



So far I am only looking between about 1998 and 2004. An expanded search will highlight more examples.

#303 Evan Burton

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 10:24 AM

Now let's have a look at more general statistics and the accident in question. The pertinent facts are that it was judged to be loss of control / pilot error (human error) during an instrument approach (landing phase). A contributory cause was weather. Dr Fetzer has said:

What a nitwit! These events, each of which is relatively improbable, are all happening at the same time. Their probability of occurring together is equal to their product. That would be a very small number, indeed. I am quite confident that all of these -- or even a substantial subset -- have never occurred together before. Some of them, like the odd meteorological phenomenon, have probably never happened before. Evan Burton appears to be pulling this right out of his ass. IF THERE EVER WAS A CASE WHERE THE SIMPLE OCCURRENCE OF A CRASH WAS NOT USED AS IF IT WERE THE ONLY EVIDENCE OF SABOTAGE, THIS IS IT! Either Burton is not reading my posts or he is grossly incompetent or he is dissembling in the extreme. There are no other alternatives.


So let's look at more worldwide statistics. The stats come from the Aircraft Crashes Record Office in Geneva.

67.57% of all aircraft accidents have human error as the primary cause.

50.39% of all aircraft accidents occur during the landing phase.

53.89% of all aircraft accidents occur less than 10 km from the airport.

5.1% of all aircraft accidents occur during a charter flight.

41.49% of all aircraft accidents have no survivors.

Now let's compare that to Dr Fetzer's belief:

0.0% of all aircraft accidents have occurred because of a directed energy weapon against the incident aircraft.

Lastly, I'd like to recount the relative experiences in aviation:

Me: Over 20 years in military and civil aviation. Qualifications as a civil pilot, military flight navigator, military air traffic controller, civil surveillance airborne mission co-ordinator. Previous posting was four years as assistant Operations Officer of a Navy squadron. Currently (last four years) posted in an operational airworthiness standards role, conducting operational airworthiness audits on all Navy squadrons.

Dr Fetzer:
Has flown in aircraft?

I am happy to expand on, or provide further details on, all the data I have provided.

Edited to add: I forgot to reiterate, I do not say Dr Fetzer is wrong regarding his belief that the aircraft accident was caused by a deliberate act by a person or persons unknown; I simply stand by by assertion that the facts of the accident to not provide any substance to his belief. These events have happened before and they will happen again... without sabotage.

Edited by Evan Burton, 21 December 2009 - 10:31 AM.


#304 Evan Burton

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 12:00 PM

Yet more damning evidence of Dr Fetzer's arrogence leading to unfounded conclusions: FAA response to NTSB recommendations regarding Wellstone accident.

The FAA shares the Board's concern regarding flightcrew awareness of low airspeed situations. As noted in the Board's letter dated December 2, 2003, failure to maintain adequate airspeed can result in unsafe circumstances like loss of control, impact with terrain or water, hard landings, and tail strikes.

The Board further states that it has investigated numerous accidents and incidents involving commercial flightcrews that inadvertently failed to maintain airspeed. For example, the Board has investigated at least 11 events since 1982 involving 14 CFR Part 135 flights and at least seven events involving 14 CFR Part 121 flights in which stall or failure to maintain airspeed during approach or landing phases was cited as a causal or contributing factor and in which icing was not cited as a factor.

Current rules require stall warning (stick shaker or natural buffet) for both small airplanes and transport airplanes. The Board acknowledges the existing requirements for stall warning, but challenges the premise that stall warnings and flightcrew vigilance provide adequate low airspeed awareness.

The Board states that a low airspeed alert, which would be activated at some airspeed higher than stall warning, would provide additional protection against low airspeed conditions that may lead to stall. The Board noted the existing installation of a low airspeed alert in the Embraer 120. The FAA required this alert as an interim solution until Embraer redesigns the stall warning system to account for icing conditions adequately.

Many current transport airplanes include additional cues on airspeed indicators. These cues are intended to provide improved low airspeed awareness. While not alerts, these color-coded symbols indicate the low airspeed region (the maneuver margin, typically at about 1.3 Vstall) in which the airplane is approaching the stall warning speed. As noted by the Board, such displays are now becoming available for use in less sophisticated general aviation airplanes.

Additionally, the Board has recognized that there are unresolved technical, operational, and human factors issues that will need to be carefully evaluated and addressed in connection with the design and implementation of a low airspeed alert system.

On January 21, 2004, the Board provided the FAA with more complete information on the 18 accidents cited by the Board to support these safety recommendations. The FAA will include a review of these 18 accidents in determining what action needs to be taken to address the safety issue. The FAA will also consider efforts already accomplished or in progress under the Safer Skies programs and other initiatives dealing with airspeed awareness. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on these safety recommendations.


#305 Evan Burton

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 02:12 PM

There have been claims of "blue" smoke versus "black" smoke. This is a terribly inaccurate way to try and judge anything about an aircraft accident site - especially the cause.

Let's have a look at some examples:

23 AUG 08. A Beechcraft King Air A100 crashes near the Canyonland Field airport in Utah:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Is that blue or black smoke?

#306 Evan Burton

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 02:56 PM

... the weather was fine...


Another example of Dr Fetzer's ignorance in the aviation field.

About 0730, the pilot contacted Aviation Charter's headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and asked the receptionist who answered his call to inform the company's scheduling office that the Senator's flight would be delayed because of the weather. The pilot then contacted the Million Air fixed-base operator (FBO) at STP and told its general manager that he would be departing about 1300 instead of 0920 and asked her to ensure that the airplane would be available at that time. However, the Senator's campaign scheduler stated that when she talked to the pilot again about 0800, he indicated that the cloud ceiling had improved, and they agreed to go ahead with the flight as originally scheduled.


According to Aviation Charters director of charter, sales, and marketing, the pilot called her about 0840 and stated that he had done a weather check with the Senator's campaign staff and that they still wanted to depart as planned. He indicated that he was getting conflicting guidance from another of the Senator's staffs and that he did not feel comfortable deciding whether or not to make the flight.


The other King Air pilot indicated that he told the Senator that the weather was at minimums, but he was sure the pilots could handle the flight.


Weather observations at EVM are made by an AWOS, 38 which is located about 2 miles northwest of the accident site at an elevation of about 1,380 feet. Observations from this station are reported every 20 minutes. At 1014 on the day of the accident, the AWOS reported that the visibility was 3 statute miles in light snow and that the sky condition was scattered clouds at 400 feet and overcast at 700 feet. At 1034, the AWOS reported that the visibility was 4 statute miles in mist and that the sky condition was overcast at 400 feet. Both AWOS reports indicated calm winds and temperatures of 1° C.


Once again we see that Dr Fetzer, a layman in the aviation field, makes assumptions far above his station and assumes professional abilities he does not hold.

Edited by Evan Burton, 21 December 2009 - 02:58 PM.


#307 Len Colby

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 03:22 PM

LOL I guess by Fetzer's standards a student who passed with a 60 or 70 or what even the 'minimum' is at UM-D is, was a 'fine' student.

From the "Critical Thinking" thread:

October 20, 2008
Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack: A Preventable Homeland Security Catastrophe
by Jena Baker McNeill and Richard Weitz, Ph.D.
Backgrounder #2199
A major threat to America has been largely ignored by those who could prevent it. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack could wreak havoc on the nation's

http://educationforu...mp;#entry176636

That was lame their was nothing in the article that indicated such weapons could disable planes in flight only that “an EMP detonation could affect car and truck engines, aircraft ignition systems,” and no sources were cited. We know however that the engines of the Wellstone plane were functioning because of propeller damage to trees at the crash site. Also the KingAir is a low tech plane whose engines and flight controls don’t depend on electricity.

The authors don't seem to have any special expertise in the area they are conservative think tank denziens pushing for increased "Homeland Security" spending

Edited by Len Colby, 26 December 2009 - 03:25 PM.


#308 Evan Burton

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 01:28 AM

What a nitwit! These events, each of which is relatively improbable, are all happening at the same time. Their probability of occurring together is equal to their product. That would be a very small number, indeed. I am quite confident that all of these -- or even a substantial subset -- have never occurred together before. Some of them, like the odd meteorological phenomenon, have probably never happened before. Evan Burton appears to be pulling this right out of his ass. IF THERE EVER WAS A CASE WHERE THE SIMPLE OCCURRENCE OF A CRASH WAS NOT USED AS IF IT WERE THE ONLY EVIDENCE OF SABOTAGE, THIS IS IT! Either Burton is not reading my posts or he is grossly incompetent or he is dissembling in the extreme. There are no other alternatives.

(My bolding)
The above data clearly show that such an occurence has happened a number of times in the past.. a couple even involving KingAir aircraft! Human error is the most common cause of aircraft accidents around the world, and no-one is immune. I don't know how Dr Fetzer can refute the statistics but sadly note that rather than trying to dispute them, Dr Fetzer just resorts to bluster, insults and name calling - a behaviour he appears notorious for. I would imagine that in a live debate he would believe that he who shouts loudest, wins.

#309 Evan Burton

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 01:50 AM

Next we should examine the claims it was an electrical fire because of the colour of the smoke. Can we be sure of this?

Electrical Fires

By definition, electrical fires originate from electrical components. Often, we can detect an electrical fire before it really gets going. The first clue might be an over-voltage warning light, a higher than normal electrical load, or a popped circuit breaker. The acrid smell of hot insulation or visible white smoke also are common indicators — but don't be fooled. In one incident, white smoke filled the cabin of a Piper Arrow, leading the pilot and instructor to think they had an electrical fire. In reality, they had a fuel fire in the engine compartment, which had begun to melt the ducts that supply heated air to the cabin.


Flight Training (Fires) - Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)

Note that none of the above were reported in the incident under discussion. Even so, could an electrical fire occur without a directed energy weapon? If so, how common is it? Let's hear from some pilots:

Was reading this very good AOPA safety brief on electrical fires and it brought to mind the electrical fire that broke out in an avionics wiring loom while I was completing my twin rating near the DET VOR a couple of years ago. The fire was contained by switching off the master switch after a quick PAN call and the judicious use of a fire extinguisher but the white heat of the melting loom just a couple of inches from my right thigh is still etched in my mind. The fact that I was flying with a very experienced pilot and the ability to share the cockpit work load ultimately literally saved my bacon.
In fact three of the four in flight incidents I have encountered over the years have had electrical origins, the most stressful of which was a radio failure (carrier wave only) in class D airspace in IMC (the recovery from which situation was expedited by an incredibly “switched on” ATC approach controller at Bournemouth ).

I think electrical problems are very, very common in (light, but not only) aircraft. The older they are, the more problems there are. I have had electrical smoke once (short circuit in the windshield heater of a C421), two complete electrical failues (one of them in a twin with two working alternators, but a failed paralleling unit) and countless failures of single COM and NAV units. Therefore I never ever get on board a light aircraft without my (charged!) handheld transceiver with headset adapter and a portable GPS unit. This is because I mostly fly on light aircraft as an IFR instrutor and will encounter those failures with high probability in controlled airspace and in IMC.


PPrune - Thread on light aircraft electrical system safety


#310 Evan Burton

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 12:33 PM

Let's go back and look at some of Dr Fetzer's claims, and see how they stand up.

As always, I urge people to independently investigate the claims and NOT rely on what myself nor Dr Fetzer say.

Another example. The plane was headed south when it crashed, but the airport was almost due north. The plane was off course in its general direction by 8 degrees, which may not sound like much but extended over rate times time, could have put it very far from the airport.


The NTSB reports says they entered an inadvertent stall during the approach. What would be the result of such a stall?

In aviation, a spin is an aggravated stall resulting in autorotation about the spin axis wherein the aircraft follows a corkscrew path. Spins can be entered unintentionally or intentionally, from any flight attitude and from practically any airspeed—all that is required is sufficient yaw rate while an aircraft is stalled. In either case, however, a specific and often counterintuitive set of actions may be needed to effect recovery. If the aircraft exceeds published limitations regarding spins, or is loaded improperly, or if the pilot uses incorrect technique to recover, the spin can lead to a crash.

In a spin, both wings are in a stalled condition, however one wing will be in a deeper stall condition than the other. This causes the aircraft to autorotate due to the non-symmetric lift and drag. Spins are also characterized by high angle of attack, low airspeed, and high rate of descent.


http://en.wikipedia....i/Spin_(flight)

The bolding is mine, but you'll find similar examples amongst the internet (or better yet - flight training manuals). If people would like further explanation or more references, I am happy to provide.

#311 Evan Burton

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 12:38 PM

If you aren't a spook, you are obsessive and probably somewhat demented.


A reminder about how Dr Fetzer treats people who disagree with him (the above to Len Colby but have a look at his posts to me, for instance).

#312 Evan Burton

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 12:48 PM

We strongly believe that the GPS was manipulated to bring the plane into the
"kill zone", which is a vastly more plausible hypothesis than the NTSB ever advanced.


I don't recall you ever answering this, Dr Fetzer. Can you explain - in detail - how this occurred? I am sure many people would be very interested in following on how this might be done.... especially without disrupting other GPS users.

#313 Evan Burton

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 12:52 PM

And of course when I said:

There is no way to either prove or disprove that some parties may have wanted Wellstone dead. That being said, there is absolutely no evidence that the crash was anything other than pilot error.


Dr Fetzer replied:

With this post, Evan Burton proves that he has no serious commitment to the truth in the Wellstone case, since we devote more than a chapter to laying out
the evidence that the White House wanted to get rid of him. I am appalled at the level of ignorance displayed by some members of this forum, which does
not seem to inhibit them from making assertions that are not only false but even provably false. I suggest Burton exercise just a modicum of effort to ascertain whether or not his suggestion is even remotely reasonable, which it is not. Egad! This guy really doesn't know even the basics about this case.



#314 Evan Burton

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 12:57 PM

Jim...Burton and Lamson seem to be clear advocates of ALL OFFICIAL STORIES ARE TRUE.

They attack JFK researchers; they attack Apollo researchers; they attack 911 researchers; they attack HAARP researchers; they attack chemtrail researchers ; they attack Wellstone researchers. They deny any "conspiracies".

Can we draw any inference from these data?

Jack ;)


And let's just remind readers about this. I have never expressed a position regarding JFK - I am a novice in the field and just don't know enought to make an informed decision.

All the others I'll gladly put my hand up to, and am more than willing to discuss on separate threads.

#315 Evan Burton

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 01:05 PM

Mr Fetzer,

You insist on 'harping' on! The FACTS are:

1. The weather WAS marginal. The reason the NTSB concludes it was not a factor was because it was still within limits. Being within limits does NOT make it 'fine'. Refer to an aviation meteorologist if you need guidance on this.

2. The aircraft requested, and was cleared for, a VOR approach to RWY 27. That is the approach they were vectored for. That is the approach they conducted.

3. If they had set up the GPS to monitor the approach, it would have been different. The GPS RWY 27 approach tracks 273 to the FAF from the COLLS intersection (see http://204.108.4.16/...9/05236G27.PDF).

4. If the GPS signal had been "manipulated" in any way, a 'GPS UNRELIABLE' or 'GPS DEGRADE' flag / warning would have appeared.

5. If they had a problem with the VOR approach, and the GPS became unreliable, and they had ANY doubt about what was happening, the CORRECT thing to do would have been to conducted a missed approach, gone around, and sorted out the problems.

6. There is NO evidence they attempted to power up the engines and fly out. This does not mean the engines or systems did not respond, it means there was no attempt to do so.

7. There is NO evidence that the communications system was inoperative.

8. There is NO evidence that any systems were damaged by any type of EMR, as would have been apparent if any systems had been subjected to sufficient EMR as to cause a malfunction.

9. It is unknown if the stall warning went off. Even so, as the reports show, the stall warning may have only sounded (IIRC) 5-7 kts above stall speed. The airspeed was bleeding off quite rapidly, so they may have only had a few seconds to react (not 'ample time'). This, combined with a preoccupation to regain the radial and get the aircraft back on the profile, may (and most likely did) lead to momentary confusion and a failure to react in time to the stall. A stall, 400-800 ft AGL when transitioning from IFR to visual, without dedicated and proper prior training, is DEADLY. More experienced and capable pilots than that flight crew have been killed in similar circumstances.

10. Pilots can and have 'worked against each other', each trying to do what they thought was right in an emergency situation. That's what CRM is all about.

Mr Fetzer, you make wild assumptions and draw conclusions from data which you are not qualified to assess.





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