Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 stolen from Seattle


On this day, the 10th August 2018, a Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 was stolen from Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (Sea–Tac) in Seattle, Washington. The perpetrator, 29-year-old Richard Russell, was a Horizon Air ground service agent with no piloting experience. After Russell performed an unauthorized takeoff, two McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle fighters were scrambled to intercept the aircraft. Sea–Tac air traffic control made radio contact with Russell, the sole occupant, who described himself as a "broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess." About 1 hour and 15 minutes after takeoff, Russell died by intentionally crashing the aircraft on lightly populated Ketron Island in Puget Sound.

The 28-year old airline ground-service agent at Seattle/Tacoma International Airport arrived at the airport for his work shift at 14:36 hours local time. At 19:15 hours he arrived in a tow vehicle at the Cargo 1 ramp, at the far north end of the airport close to the thresholds of runway 16L, C and R. He climbed aboard and started the engines before briefly exiting the aircraft in order to turn aircraft 180 degrees with the nose towards the airfield. At 19:32 the aircraft taxied away from the apron. A tower controller attempted to contact the aircraft, but it took off from runway 16C at 19:33 hours.
The aircraft then began manoeuvering over Puget Sound and was seen to perform a split S, pulling up just above the water. During these manoeuvres the person in control of the aircraft was in radio contact with air traffic control.

McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle fighter aircraft of the Oregon Air National Guard were dispatched and followed the aircraft.

At 20:46 hours the aircraft entered a significant sideslip with the control column in a position forward of neutral. The controls were pushed further forward and six seconds later, the aircraft impacted wooded terrain on Ketron Island, 40 km to the southwest of the Seattle/Tacoma Airport. Both wings broke off in the accident sequence and the fuselage came to rest inverted. The sole person on board the aircraft was killed.

Aircraft Information:
Airline: Alaska Airlines 
Code: AS/ASA
Operator: Horizon Air QX/QXE
Aircraft: de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8
Registration: N449QX
Serial Number: 4410
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A

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