Mike Connell's Piper Saratoga Crash in Ohio


I was wondering if anyone else here finds the crash of Mike Connell’s Piper Saratoga on December 19, 2008 just a little suspicious? Reg number is N9299N. Preliminary report is at ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_i … 2815&key=1

This story has largely gone unreported in most corporate news channels. Connell has played central role as an IT guru in the election scandals of the Republican party. It is said that he was going to spill the beans, and many people suspect that his plane was tampered with. It has also been reported that he had to abort at least two flights in the recent past due to suspected sabotage/tampering. I was first leaning toward icing, but now I am not so sure. (Do a google search on “Spoonamore”, a colleague and whistleblower) There are some good videos where he details the problems.

My biggest question at this point is, with the advanced avionics of his plane and his familiarity with the area, how in the world was his plane so far off course? (his last flighttracker location puts him at no more than 1/2 mile or so off course at about 6 miles out, so he had plenty of time to line up) Then add in the inconsistencies of the report such as his last reported heading and the direction of the crash and it gets a little weirder.

As someone who follows politics fairly closely and has an interest in aviation, I am curious if anyone else here has looked into this more closely.

If there are any people interested in tossing this around a bit I would really appreciate it.


Wow, noone so far???


The whole episode seems shady. I hope that if he really had the information and he was being as suspicious as reported that he has a Dead Man’s Switch somewhere that will get it all out. Otherwise he died in vain or it was a genuine accident.


The more I look at this and the less anyone talks about it the more convinced I am that this wasn’t a typical “accident”.

I too hope he was smart enough to provide for getting all critical information out.

I was really hoping for someone who has better knowledge of these things than I do to take a closer look at the situation to see if my interpretation of things are reasonable. Anyone??


In the report posted (third paragraph).

N9299N then declared an emergency.

Guess the nature will never be known if he never got to say the nature of the emergency to ATC…


Yea, I was aware that he had declared an emergency. But look at his flight path. He wasn’t far from the localizer at over 6 miles out, if you look at his last position as indicated by flight tracker. He should have had ample time to correct and line up. Then there is the matterof his conversation with the tower saying he was going “due north and climbing”. But if you read what the witness says, given the witness’ location due east of the airport, and the location of the crash site, as well as the trajectory heading east to west at the time of the crash, it just doesn’t seem to add up… I just can’t fathom how he could possible been so far off course with the instruments he had available, especially if you look at his flight path until it drops off of FT.

Is there any way to get the radar info as well as ATC info before the investigation is completed ?

Another thing I happened to notice probably doesn’t mean a thing, but maybe someone can explain it to me. The listing under carrier identification - it says unknown. Scrolling through the list of other accidents I couldn’t find another listed as “unknown” except for foreign entities.

Anyways, I mapped some of this out in google if anyone is interested… Let me know.


Ajaxxx, What do you think happened?


What did the autopsy reveal?


wazzu90, I really don’t know - I just sense that things don’t seem right.

SkykingC310, I don’t know anything about the autopsy, since there has been no further news on the subject. In fact, this is one of the things that bothers me. The networks didn’t even mention the crash except the locals, and perhaps I think CBS touched on it very briefly. Then nothing.

Given this guys importance and closeness to Bush and the republican party, and the election scandal he was being questioned about, you’d think you’d hear a bit more…


The following is all conjecture that **could happen on any flight **and not just this one…

Keep in mind for an approach, small GA plane almost goes 2 SM a minute on final approach.

Pilot is in solid IMC. My assumption since the pilot asked if there was icing, report does not indicate tops. Surface temperature is 1C.

Per report, pilot instructions were to intercept the localizer 2 miles from the outer marker (not 6). level flight working very “tight quarters” based on what I interpret (ONE minute flight time). Report does not indicate he was in the localizer. Plane straight and level may not have been able to intercept, and now new instructions are to make a climbing turn up to 3000.

Several thoughts…

Report doesn’t indicate how much IMC time the pilot has. Report doesn’t indicate how much night time flying he has. Report doesn’t say if the pilot was instrument current.

Conditions would appear to be not for a novice IA rated pilot to be mucking around in (night IMC)

Report indicates no anomalies were noted with the flight control system that would have precluded normal operation.

Plane MAY HAVE encountered icing on the climb (very little wiggle room at 1C) Hopefully more will come out on the final report.

Spatial disorientation due to the climbing right turn. Add in night AND reading charts adding to this possibility.

Due to the tight quarters, pilot gets behind the plane and doesn’t want to fess up to ATC or wants to salvage the approach and does things he shouldn’t do (steep turn in IMC) excasperating the situation.

Flight time of 2 hours, fatique could cause a pilot to get behind the plane. Add in IMC, and the rest is history.

On this particular flight, pilot declared an emergency. That alone would indicate something very wrong happened and with all that could have gone wrong with conditions described above, I personally don’t see anything unusual to think that this was a very unfortunate accident WITHOUT reading the final report.

JMHO for what it’s worth.


Rawstory has a synopsis with flightaware screen grabs.

rawstory.com/news/2008/Foul_play … _0113.html