There is a lot of bad data from familiar sources here.
(1) The weather was fine:
Other planes landed there with no problems;
I have photos taken within an hour of the crash;
I assume northern Minnesota is like most parts of the world and the weather can change fairly quickly and IIRC the photo was taken a few miles away and at ground level, i.e. not the altitude the plane was at. The weather was bad enough to have reduced visibility. The fact that one of the pilots clicked on the runway lights indicates they were having difficulty locating the airport.
I was there and the weather was fine for flying;
No you were over 40 miles away in Duluth which is right on Lake Superior, while Eveleth is about 40 miles inland, you do know the weather tends to be milder near large bodies of water don’t you? In any case your recollections 10 years after the fact are trumped by contemporaneous weather reports. You're not even a pilot.
(2) The pilots were well-qualified:
The principal pilot has an Air Transport license;
No they held the minimum requirements for their positions. Though not required by the FAA in the real world an ATP certificate is necessary to work as a pilot-in-command (PIC) and the FAA requires at least a Commercial certificate for all paid pilots.http://www.curtisaviationservices.com/Airline-Transport-Pilot.html
The pilot-in-command of the plane that carried Sen. Paul Wellstone to his death exaggerated his flying experience by telling managers at Executive Aviation that he had 400 to 500 hours of prime experience at a major commuter airline, American Eagle.
An aviation official with knowledge of Richard Conry's history at American Eagle told the Star Tribune on Friday that Conry only trained there. Conry never was named a first officer or co-pilot at the airline and never flew a passenger flight at American Eagle, the official said.http://www.startribu...ry?sid=11577931
“The pilot’s logbook also indicated that he had flown four revenue service flights as a first officer [co-pilot] for Simmons [American Eagle] on January 29 and 30, 1990 (a total of 4.5 hours).” But he was know to have doctored his logs.
He also told the FAA and Executive Aviation he had “4,518 total [flight] hours.” When in reality he had at most 3058 hours, it is impossible to tell how many he had because the convicted conman doctored his logbooks then falsely claimed in a notarized statement he had lost them. All this indicates he felt he was not sufficiently qualified to get hired by the company. He was right “Executive Aviation owner Roger Wikner said in an interview that…he never would have hired Conry if he knew the pilot had a felony conviction and less flying experience than he claimed.”http://www.ntsb.gov/...003/AAR0303.pdf
Adapted from Wikipedia, with citations:
Other pilots at the charter company told NTSB that pilot Richard Conry and first officer (co-pilot) Michael Guess both displayed below average flying skills. Conry had a well-known tendency to allow co-pilots to take over all functions of the aircraft as if they were the sole pilot during flights; though he operated the radios he let the co-pilots fly all six of his flight legs in the 72 hours preceding the crash. After the crash, three copilots told of occasions in which they had to take control of the aircraft away from Conry. After one of those incidents, only three days before the crash, the co-pilot (not Guess) had urged Conry to retire. In a post-accident interview Timothy Cooney, Conroy's longtime friend and fellow aviator who last spoke to him in June said that Conroy expressed concerns about flying King Airs as late as April of that year, eighteen months before the accident. Significant discrepancies were also found in the captain's flight logs in the course of the post-accident investigation indicating he had probably greatly exaggerated his flying experience, most of which had been accrued before a 11 year hiatus from flying due to a fraud conviction and poor eyesight. In 2001, he had Lasik surgery but it only improved his vision to 20/50, 20/30 and he was required by FAA regulations to wear corrective lenses; however, the pilot's wife and Timothy Cooney said he did not wear lenses after the surgery. The coroner who examined his badly burned body was unable to determine if he was wearing contacts at the time of the crash.
Guess was cited by co-workers as having to be consistently reminded to keep his hand on the throttle and maintain airspeed during approaches. He had two previous piloting jobs: one with Skydive Hutchinson as a pilot (1988–1989), and another with Northwest Airlines as a trainee instructor (1999). However, he was dismissed from both jobs for lack of ability. Conry's widow told the NTSB that her husband told her “the other pilots thought Guess was not a good pilot.”http://en.wikipedia....Wellstone#Death
I’ve mentioned several crashes on this thread were flight crews far more qualified than Conry and Guess crashed due to gross blunders. Just a few:http://www.check-six...Shiga-SFBay.htmhttp://en.wikipedia....se_of_the_crashhttp://en.wikipedia....d_investigationhttp://en.wikipedia....7#Investigation
He had passed his FAA flight check two days earlier;
During the flight check "The chief pilot stated that after the simulated engine failure, he told the pilot to pick up the pace and to feather the engine .a couple of seconds faster for comfort." pg 11 (23) i.e. that he was not flying fast enough out of a situation similar to a stall!!” And all professional pilots who crashed did so within 6 months of a flight check.
The plane only required one pilot and there were two.
Not especially helpful if both were incompetent. The charter company’s insurance company required this after a previous crash in which a King Air stalled and crashed in poor weather because the pilot could not find the airport.
(3) The plane was exceptional:
The King Air A-100 is the Rolls Royce of small aircraft;
Not relevant as Evan pointed out especially since Conry had trouble flying them. There were no maintenance problems with the plane;
Strawman, no one said there were.The NTSB was unable to bring it down in simulations.
Not true, as Evan pointed out they were not trying to.