Baron Crashes After Seemingly Pilotless Flight
The pilot of a twin-engine turbo Beech Baron 56-T-C was headed home to St. Paul, Minn., from Glendive, Mont., on a business trip, when he apparently lost consciousness somewhere above Wisconsin last Friday night. The airplane continued on course until it ran out of fuel near Charleston, W.V. Two F-16s intercepted the Baron and attempted to make contact with the pilot, and fired flares, to no avail. They escorted the airplane until it descended and crashed in a rural area about 9:45 p.m. The pilot, William Roger Cammack Jr., 56, of St. Paul, who was alone on board, died. Nobody on the ground was hurt. Cammack had been a pilot for over 25 years and had recently joined the Civil Air Patrol, family members said. The nearest house to the crash site was about 250 feet away. It is not yet clear if Cammack died in the crash or during the flight. The accident was reminiscent of last year's crash of an airliner in Cyprus, and also of the 1999 Learjet crash that killed pro golfer Payne Stewart and four others. That airplane flew halfway across the country on autopilot before crashing in a pasture in South Dakota. In both of those accidents, the crew was incapacitated by hypoxia. It's not yet known whether that was a factor in last weekend's crash, or if other factors led to the pilot's incapacity.