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Home / US / Richard Russels flight experience before the theft of an aircraft? & # 39; I played video games & # 39;

Richard Russels flight experience before the theft of an aircraft? & # 39; I played video games & # 39;



On Friday evening, when he flew the stolen 76-seater passenger plane over Seattle for nearly an hour, an air traffic controller asked Richard B. Russell if he felt comfortable "just flying the plane" [196592002] Mr. Russell, 28, a Horizon Air associate whose duties involved handling and de-icing aircraft but did not fly, responded, "I've played video games before, so I know what I'm doing."

Gary Beck General Manager of Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, said that Russell – who died when the Q400 turboprop plane landed on an island about 30 miles from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport ̵

1; had no pilot license.

"Commercial Aircraft are complex machines, "Beck said at a press conference on Saturday," I do not know how he made the experience he did. "

Mr. Todd said he was also surprised to see someone without a pilot's license lift the plane from the ground without breaking it, not to mention the maneuvers that Mr. Russell carries out on Friday.

Videos taken by spectators during Mr. Russell's flight showed the plane diving deep, doing wide loops and at least one upside down roll. Some of Russell's actions, such as knowing he was able to perform certain air movements at a certain altitude, suggested that he might have learned it from a flight simulator, Todd said.

"It is highly unlikely, but not impossible, that he has never had any flying except in a virtual world," he said.

Given the friendly working atmosphere at the airports, it would not be unusual if Mr. Russell had learned to start an engine. One of the mechanics, he said.

Flying a Q400, a complex turboprop aircraft, would require more training, in addition to the requirements for a private pilot's license, said Richard McSpadden, the executive director of the Association of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Institute for Aviation Safety. A pilot would also need recommendations from flight instructors for specific skills to fly a Q400.

Mr. McSpadden said he found it very unlikely that Mr. Russell had the skills simply from a simulation. He noted that the record of Mr. Russell's conversation with air traffic controllers suggested he was not familiar with aeronautical terminology, but he knew enough to try aerial maneuvers.

Thomas Anthony, Director of the Safety and Security Program at the University of Southern California, acknowledged that there were "parts of the approach and landing process" that could be taught with a simulator. Nevertheless, he emphasized emphatically: "You can operate a plane safely not only on the basis of a simulator."

He said that the wide availability of simulators – as with so many other technologies that have proliferated in recent years – is bilateral road. "It's just another thing that needs to be addressed, understood and mitigated," he said.

Professor Anthony referred to the results of the 9/11 Commission, which concluded that the authorities responsible for the security of the Americans are competent In the years leading up to the 9/11 attacks, aviation had a broad "failure to defend".

An equally serious danger was the refusal to question certain assumptions – for example, that a person who has no criminal background had terrorist groups working safely behind the scenes. "But that's not enough," said Professor Anthony. Sophisticated simulators and private emotional turmoil could turn out to be a deadly mix, he said

. Barclay said landing is "an art form" that can not be learned from a PC-based simulator.

"There is one important thing that separates simulators from real life," Barclay said. "If you crash in the simulator, you can reset and restart it."

Jason M. Bailey contributed to the coverage.

Follow Louis Lucero II on Twitter: @Louis_II .

Follow Melissa Gomez on Twitter: @ MelissaGomez004 .


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