Wellstone Pilot Fatigue?
The latest issue coming to light regarding the fatal September 25 crash of a King Air A-100 carrying Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone is the possibility that the captain flying Wellstone's chartered King Air had flown the aircraft after working the night shift at his nursing job. The work schedule of pilot Richard Conry in the days before the crash -- and how it may have affected his fitness to fly -- are now part of the NTSB's crash investigation. The 55-year-old pilot's four-hour nursing shift at a Twin Cities hospital -- previously undisclosed -- ended between 9 and 10 p.m. the night before the crash. The fatal flight took off at 9:20 the next morning. Federal regulations require that charter companies provide at least 10 hours off duty between flights, however, the regulations don't prevent pilots from working a non-aviation job. So, it wouldn't be illegal for a pilot to work a second job, even if the work is within 10 hours of a takeoff.