ATC Recording Of Conversation Prior To Missouri Crash
Explains Why A/C Was At FL410
Transcripts of the conversations between the crew of a
Pinnacle/Northwest Airlink CRJ regional jet and air traffic
controllers prior to the aircraft's crashing in Jefferson City
(MO) have revealed the reason why the aircraft was flying at
FL410, and possibly why they crashed.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has obtained transcripts of the
conversation from the FAA. They reveal that the aircraft, which had
no pax at the time due its being a repositioning flight, was flying
unusually high because the pilots had purposefully done so,
apparently as a way of entertaining themselves.
When queried as to why they were flying so high, one of the two
cockpit crew members responded: "Yeah, we're actually ... we don't
have any passengers on board, so we decided to have a little fun
and come up here." The transcripts do not say who was talking at
the time. The crew was later identified as Capt. Jesse Rhodes and
First Officer Richard Peter Cesarz.
Soon after that, the pilots reported that their engines shut
down, one after the other. "We're going to need a little lower to
start this other engine up, so we're going to go down to about 12
or 11 (thousand feet). Is that cool?" the pilot said.
The last transmission took place when the pilot reported the
field in sight. At that time, the aircraft was at 9,000 feet.