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Wind gust caused June plane crash in Great Bear Wilderness

WILDERNESS — The National Transportation Safety Board says a wind gust pushed a single-engine Cessna off the end of a wilderness airstrip in northwestern Montana last month, causing a crash that injured three men.

The agency’s preliminary report says Red Eagle Aviation pilot Tom Glanville was fighting a down draft while trying to land the plane at Schafer Meadows in the Great Bear Wilderness on June 23. The wind shifted to a tail wind, pushing the plane down the runway and into the trees.

The Daily Inter Lake reports Glanville and passengers Aaron Wamsley of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and Arthur Pegg of Lexington, Kentucky, were treated at a Kalispell hospital. The plane was damaged, but the fuselage remained intact.

The passengers were flying into the wilderness to begin a rafting trip down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.

The YouTube video below shows what a normal landing is like on the 3,200-foot grass strip at Schafer.

Seen in Hillyard

I came across Blaine Burrell’s fundraising poster in Hillyard the other day. Here’s a link to Mike Prager’s story about the monument Burrell would like to erect commemorating 19-year-old Cromwell Dixon, who crashed his plane at a fair on Oct. 2, 1911. Reportedly 12,000 people were watching. The crash site is located south of Trent Avenue and just west of Fiske Street, according to Burrell, who’s been researching the so-called “boy aviator” extensively.

A lot of people helped start the Spokane Turbine Center

A few bits of information left out of a Wednesday SR story about the Spokane Turbine Center deserve some mention in the Office Hours blog.  (To see a short video about the three-week course offered by the STC, it’s here.  The full story is here.)

For one, the building the STC has moved into, at the intersection of Rutter Parkway and Fancher, is the renovated former home of the 116th Observation Squadron, which was created and first stationed at Felts Field in 1924. STC Executive Director Jeff Turcotte noted that an anonymous benefactor covered the cost of renovating the stately brick building that is the STC offices.

The 116th eventually evolved into the 142nd Air Defense Group, which became the Air Force refueling wing based at Fairchild Air Force Base.

Second, the training offered by STC is focused on the Kodiak, a small, powerful turboprop aircraft designed by Quest Aircraft Co., in Sandpoint.

The Kodiak was designed by Tom Hamilton, who resides in the Newport area. Paul Schaller, CEO of Quest, said the initial capital to launch the company came from about a dozen U.S. mission aviation groups.