Paul Houle, a local amateur historian, will be on WZGM after the ten a.m. newsbreak. His efforts have led the NTSB to reopen its investigation into a 1967 crash over Hendersonville, NC involving a 727 and a Cessna that left 82 dead.
Click here to listen live, provided they get the web stream up and running by that time. If not, and you are near Western North carolina, tune your radio dial to 1350 AM. If I can, I will take notes and, as Bill Cunningham says, “Give you a Full Report.”
Here is a Asheville Citizen-Times article, and this article is from the News-Leader out of Springfield, MO. Below is an excerpt:
Feds reopen probe of ’67 crash
Three local men were among 82 killed when a plane from Springfield collided with an airliner.
By Mike O’Brien
FOR THE NEWS-LEADER
Federal investigators have agreed to take another look into a 1967 midair collision of a private plane from Springfield and a Piedmont Airlines jetliner that killed 82, including three local men.
In an extraordinary move, the National Transportation Safety Board will consider previously ignored evidence that indicates the pilot of the Springfield plane was unfairly blamed for the tragedy.
The News-Leader reported in December that Paul Houle, an amateur historian who lives a few miles from the rural North Carolina crash site, had submitted a petition to the NTSB challenging that federal agency’s finding that the Cessna 310 had intruded into the Boeing 727 airliner’s assigned flightpath.
Houle’s petition argued that the original probe was flawed because:
Air traffic controllers issued confusing instructions, and then gave an OK when the Cessna pilot accurately radioed his location and heading.
The 737 pilot strayed from his specified heading and altitude.
Investigators disregarded the fact that the airliner crew was distracted by a fire in a cockpit ashtray during the 41 seconds before the collision.
An improper conflict of interest existed because the NTSB’s chief investigator was the brother of a Piedmont vice president.
Houle’s petition seemed a long shot because of the time elapsed since the crash, and because the NTSB usually accepts only requests filed by “parties to the investigation or hearing, or persons having a direct interest in the accident investigation.”
Houle (rhymes with “pool”) was only 3 years old when the collision occurred and had no connection to anyone aboard the planes nor to the original investigation. The NTSB’s acting chairman, Mark V. Rosenker, recently wrote in a letter to Houle that “although the regulations do not define ‘persons having a direct interest,’ this language was not meant to include independent researchers who have no other connection to an accident.”
Nevertheless, Rosenker said, “I have decided that we will consider and evaluate your request as a proper petition.”