Senator Paul Wellstone Plane Goes Down


Senator Paul Wellstone Plane Goes Down

October 25, 2002, Senator Paul Wellstone, Sheila Wellstone, and Marcia Wellstone, along with Will McLaughlin, Tom Lapic, and Mary McEvoy of his campaign staff were traveling on a Beech King Air 100, flown by Captains Richard Conroy and Michael Guess in northern Minnesota.   The Department of Transportation confirmed that the identification number on the tail of the plane that went down southeast of Eveleth, Minnesota matched the serial number of Senator Wellstone's plane. There were no survivors.

The NTSB  preliminary indicates at 1021 Central Standard Time, an Aviation Charter, Inc., King Air A100 crashed during approach to Eveleth-Virginia Airport (EVM), Eveleth, MN. The airplane was operated under 14 CFR Part 135 as a charter flight by Aviation Charter, Inc. when it crashed 2 miles from the airport. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and fire, and all 8 persons on board were killed. The flight departed from St. Paul Downtown Airport at approximately 0930 and climbed to an altitude of 13,000 feet for the flight to EVM. Pilot reports provided by ATC to the accident flight indicated light to moderate rime icing between 5,000 feet to 11,000 feet.


          Senator Paul

The flight had been vectored by air traffic controllers to intercept the runway 27 extended centerline approximately 9 miles out. After intercepting the inbound course, radar data showed the flight tracking on a southwesterly course before the radar data ended. Preliminary examination of the last radar returns indicated the airplane's airspeed had slowed to approximately 85 knots.

The airplane crashed approximately 2 miles southeast of the runway 27 threshold. Tree strikes at the accident site indicated a southerly direction and a flight path angle of approximately 25 degrees during the impact sequence. No radio transmissions were received from the flight after it acknowledged receiving its clearance for the approach. Automated weather observations at EVM reported 3 miles visibility and 700 feet overcast at 1014 and 4 miles visibility and 400 feet overcast at 1034. Biography:  Paul David Wellstone, Minnesota's senior senator, was born to Russian immigrants Leon and Minnie Wellstone on July 21, 1944. In 1963 Paul married Sheila Ison, with whom he has three children, David, Marcia, and Mark. Today the Wellstones have six grandchildren: Cari, Keith, Joshua, Acacia, Sydney, and Matt.

Paul was raised in Arlington, VA and attended Wakefield and Yorktown high schools. An accomplished student and athlete he went on to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where he was a champion wrestler. In 1965 he earned his B.A., and four years later was awarded a Ph.D.  in Political Science. Soon he accepted a teaching post at Carleton College in Northfield, MN where he taught for 21 years. In 1990, underdog Senate candidate Paul Wellstone rallied  a dynamic volunteer force and traveled throughout Minnesota in his trademark green bus. On election day he was the only Senate challenger that year to unseat an incumbent.
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