NTSB Update On Wellstone Crash

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The NTSB on Tuesday released updated information on its investigation of the crash of a Raytheon (Beech) King Air A100 (N41BE) carrying Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone and seven others. The aircraft was destroyed by impact forces and fire on October 25, at Eveleth, Minn.; there were no survivors. Both engines and propellers appear to have been operating at time of impact, the NTSB said. No evidence of pre-impact engine or propeller failure was found. The pilot received two flight service weather briefings prior to the flight. The NTSB weather group is continuing its efforts to more accurately define the icing conditions that existed along the flight route. Toxicological test reports on the captain and first officer showed no evidence of alcohol or drugs of abuse. The first officer's voice is heard on nearly all radio transmissions with Air Traffic Control, suggesting that the captain was in charge of the flight controls. Tests of the VOR/DME approach to Runway 27 at Eveleth showed the signal accuracy is suitable for en route flight but was found slightly out of tolerance for conducting an instrument approach. Next week, investigators are scheduled to begin aircraft performance evaluations using a flight simulator at Flight Safety International in Wichita, Kan. The investigation is continuing.