Seattle plane thief’s obvious files of loops, varied hazardous maneuvers is a mystery: investigators

Seattle plane thief’s obvious files of loops, varied hazardous maneuvers is a mystery: investigators

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The 29-year-veteran man who stole a Horizon Air turboprop plane from Sea-Tac International Airport and crashed it on an island in Puget Sound on Friday night performed a series of loops and talked about he’d strive a barrel roll — and now, investigators snarl they’re trying to study how he attained the flexibility to construct these hazardous maneuvers.

“If he had the flexibility residing to attract loops with a plane take care of this, he absolutely had the ability to flee it true into a building and cancel folks on the ground,” talked about Erroll Southers, a aged FBI agent and transportation security expert.

Officials talked about Richard Russell — who modified into a football player, wrestler and discus thrower at Wasilla High College in Alaska — modified into a three 1/2 of-year Horizon employee and had clearance to be among plane, but that to their files, he wasn’t a certified pilot. He took the empty plane from a repairs location.

Alaska Airways talked about the suspect modified into a ground service agent employed by Horizon. Those workers articulate plane for takeoff and gate plan and de-ice planes, as effectively as deal with baggage.

Gary Beck, CEO of Horizon Air, talked about it wasn’t fling how the man knew to delivery up the engine, which requires a series of switches and levers.

“I mediate I would possibly strive to attract a barrel roll, and if that goes accurate I would possibly hurry nose down and phone it a night,” Richard Russell talked about from the cockpit, in keeping with a recording of his dialog with the controller.


This undated portray posted to Richard Russell’s YouTube channel shows Russell, an airline ground agent. Investigators are piecing together how Russell stole an empty industrial airplane, took off from Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle, and crashed true into a small island within the Puget Sound in Washington. (Richard Russell/YouTube through AP)

“The greatest risk we hang to aviation is the insider risk,” talked about Southers. “Right here we hang an employee who modified into vetted to the diploma to hang access to the plane and had a ability residing proficient passable to consume off with that plane.”

Video confirmed the Horizon Air Q400, a turboprop plane that seats Seventy six folks, doing huge loops and varied hazardous maneuvers as the solar residing on Puget Sound. The flight lasted about seventy five minutes, and ended Friday night when Russell crashed into the small island after being chased by military jets. The 2 F-15C plane scrambled from Portland didn’t fire the plane, authorities talked about.

The plane crashed on little Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington. Video confirmed fiery flames amid trees on the island, which is totally populated and easiest accessible by ferry. Investigators request they will be ready to get better both the cockpit direct recorder and the event files recorder from the plane.

An air traffic controller modified into heard in audio recordings trying to persuade him to land the airplane.

“There is a runway appropriate off to your ravishing aspect in a couple of mile,” the controller talked about, referring to an airfield at Joint Scary Lewis-McChord.

“Oh man. Those guys will tough me up if I strive to land there,” Russell responded, later adding, “This would possibly occasionally be jail time for existence, huh?”

Later Russell talked about: “I’ve received a quantity of folks that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this … Honest a damaged guy, received a couple of screws free, I notify.”

Russell glided by “Beebo” on social media, and on his Fb page, which had restricted public access. He talked about he modified into from Wasilla, Alaska, lived in Sumner, Washington, and modified into married in 2012.

In a comical YouTube video he posted last year, he talked about his job and incorporated videos and photos of his various travels.

“I consume a quantity of baggage. Like a quantity of baggage. So many bags,” he talked about.

The airline mechanic’s stunt left many who knew him past shock.

Observe and self-discipline coach Gary Howell from his high faculty talked about he modified into “fully the impress of kid you take care of to hang to your crew.”

“He had that energy, that vibrance,” Howell talked about. “He modified into that child you high-5 within the hallway even when you happen to don’t know him.”

The Linked Press contributed to this file.

Frank Miles is a reporter and editor preserving sports actions, tech, military and geopolitics for He would possibly perhaps additionally simply additionally be reached at 

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