Two Crashes


Well-Known Member
For those of you familiar at all with the cargo world, two Grand Aire planes crashed today, both Falcon 20's.

One crashed in St. Louis around 6:50pm, both the pilot and copilot were rescued and taken to the hospital (one in serious and one in critical condition).

The other crashed in Toledo, OH around 1:30pm, and the two pilots (both of whom I knew) and a trainee died in the crash.

There's not too many details.
Here's more detail...sad. I can't imagine the odds...

SWANTON, Ohio (AP) - A charter airline company with about 50 employees was coping with the deaths of three pilots and injuries to two more as two of its planes crashed on the same day, about eight months after another company pilot died in a crash.

A flag outside Grand Aire Inc. was flown at half-staff on
Wednesday. An employee said no one from the company was available to comment.

A Grand Aire twin-engine jet crashed in flames about 2 p.m. Tuesday in a remote area of a nature preserve as it approached Toledo Express Airport, killing all three people on board, authorities said.

About five hours later, a second plane crashed into the
Mississippi River just north of St. Louis. The pilot and co-pilot
were pulled from the water and taken to an unidentified hospital, police and fire officials said.

"You can't calculate the odds," said Dick Williams, president of Aviation Data Source, a Denver-based aviation group. "That's just not going to happen."

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board began work at the Ohio crash site Wednesday and was sending an investigator to St. Louis.

Three other Dassault Aviation Falcon 20s owned or operated by Grand Aire have crashed since 2000, according to National Transportation Safety Board records.

The French-built planes have been a reliable, safe aircraft, Williams said.

"They're as easy to fly as any small jet," he said. "There's
nothing tricky about flying them."

On July 18, a Piper PA-60 twin-engine plane owned by Grand Aire crashed as it tried to land in dense fog at an airport in Columbus, Ind., killing the pilot.

Grand Aire employees Dave Davenport, 40, of Elmore; Will
Forshay, 37, of Maumee; and Wallis Bouldin, 34, of Louisville, Ky., were killed in Tuesday's crash, the State Highway Patrol said. It was not yet clear who was the pilot.

Tahir Cheema, Grand Aire's owner and president, said all three were experienced fliers, but he declined further comment Tuesday.

The plane, which can seat up to nine people, was built in 1968.

The two injured in the St. Louis crash were identified as Saleem Iqbal, 34, and Mohammed Saleh, 44. Authorities said one was listed in critical condition and the other in serious.

Police said the jet crashed moments after it missed an approach at Lambert Airport, forcing the pilot to go around and try to land again.

The Falcon 20 turbo jet bound for the Toledo airport had left Traverse City, Mich. It disappeared from radar in the air traffic control tower, Lucas County Sheriff James Telb said.

Sheriff's deputies and park rangers alerted by the tower found the wreckage when they followed a horse trail toward smoke in thick vegetation in the nature preserve a mile southwest of the airport.

There are no shelter houses or parking lots in the area of the 3,500-acre Oak Openings Preserve MetroPark where the plane went down, Toledo Metroparks spokesman Scott Carpenter said.

"It was really difficult to reach it and even find it," said
Mike George, fire chief for the Ohio National Guard unit based at the airport in this city 17 miles west of Toledo.

Firefighters extinguished the flames after about two hours, Telb said. Hours later the still-smoldering wreckage lay in a heap surrounded by yellow police tape.

The plane apparently arrived in Traverse City sometime Tuesday morning, either picked up or dropped off freight, and returned to Toledo, said Stephen Cassens, Cherry Capital Airport director.

Ron Height, of Swanton, said he stopped when he saw a large cloud of smoke coming from the woods while driving. He got to the crash site as the first rescuers arrived.

"It was pretty clear right away there wasn't going to be a lot we could do," he said.

The company, which offers passenger and freight charter services as well as trucking, moved to the Toledo airport from Monroe, Mich., in 1999.

St. Louis police and the FBI said there was no reason to believe the crash was the result of possible terrorism, but they were investigating as a precaution.

"Because the country is on an orange alert and because
Mississippi River bridges have been listed as possible terrorism
targets, we are handling this matter with extreme caution," Mayor Francis Slay said, but he warned against jumping to conclusions.
From (St. Louis Post-Dispatch's site)

Small cargo jet crashes into Mississippi River
By Donald E. Franklin,   Greg Jonsson and Ken Leiser,  
updated: 04/09/2003 12:00 PM

The wreckage from a plane that crashed into the Mississippi River near the McKinley Bridge floats downriver with guidance from a St. Louis Fire Department rescue boat after firefighters rescued the plane's occupants. The wreckage is lit by lights from the Casino Queen in East St. Louis.
(Teak Phillips/P-D)

A twin-engine cargo jet plunged into the Mississippi River north of downtown St. Louis on Tuesday night, moments after bad weather forced its pilot to delay a landing attempt at Lambert Field.

Two men on board the Grand Aire jet were rescued just north of the McKinley Bridge.

The two men were identified by the FBI as pilots Saleem Iqbal, 34, and Mohammed Saleh, 44. The men were in the custody of St. Louis police on Tuesday night as a precaution while police and the FBI continue their investigation. Iqbal was in serious condition today. Saleh was in fair condition.

Officials from the FBI, the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board were at the scene today. A Coast Guard boat was stationed at the wreckage overnight to safeguard it for investigators. Cranes were being brought in to remove the wreckage, which would then be taken either to a Coast Guard dock or a storage site for further investigation.

Authorities believe the cargo on the plane is not hazardous and appears to have no connection to possible terrorism.

* From the Toledo Blade: Three die when plane crashes into nature preserve

Grand Aire Flight 179 was en route to Lambert from Del Rio, Texas, said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory.

The aircraft was ordered to land on Runway 30-Right, but poor visibility and rain forced controllers at the Lambert tower to send the plane around and try to land a second time.

While circling above St. Louis, the crew radioed air traffic controllers that the plane was critically low on fuel, an FAA source said. The Falcon 20 turbo jet crashed into the river about 6:30 p.m., FAA officials said.

Authorities were investigating to determine whether the crash was the result of possible terrorism.

``Because the country is on an orange alert and because Mississippi River bridges have been listed as possible terrorism targets, we are handling this matter with extreme caution,'' Mayor Francis Slay said.

But he warned against jumping to conclusions.

The Mississippi River crash was the second of the day involving a plane operated by the charter company based in suburban Toledo, Ohio.

Three people were killed earlier Tuesday when another Falcon 20 operated by Grand Aire crashed into a nature preserve near the Toledo Express Airport. That flight originated in Traverse City, Mich., and crashed about 2 p.m., authorities said.

Both accidents remain under investigation. A Grand Aire customer service representative who answered the telephone late Tuesday declined to comment on either crash.

In St. Louis, police received a call just before 7 p.m. regarding a plane in distress, said Deputy Police Chief Ray Lauer.

When a Fire Department rescue boat reached the plane, firefighters found one man sitting on top of the plane, and the other man was inside, Lauer said. Both were conscious.

Lauer said that he could not determine the injuries to both men, but said they probably were suffering from hypothermia. Both men may have been in the water for about 15 minutes before their rescue, he said.

After the men were rescued, the plane continued to drift downriver. A Fire Department rescue boat was deployed to guide the plane to shore.

Asked if security will be heightened at the bridges following the crash, Lauer said that such steps will be taken.

"Yes, as a precaution," he said.

Before Tuesday, the last fatal crash involving a Grand Aire plane was on July 14, when a pilot was killed in a crash as he tried to land a twin-engine plane amid thick fog at the Columbus, Ind., airport.

The FAA said that there have been several civil penalties brought against Grand Aire over the past few years.

For example, on June 1, 2000, the FAA proposed a $95,000 civil penalty against the company for deficiencies in performing four maintenance tasks. Also that month, Grand Aire was fined another $95,000 for operating an aircraft for 20 days without repairing a known problem.

On May 1, 2000, the aviation agency assessed Grand Aire a $195,000 fine for failure to conduct a required ground and in-flight test after removal and replacement of an engine.

The company, founded in 1985, has seen dramatic growth under President and CEO Tahir Cheema. In 1997, it moved from Monroe, Mich., to a $4.5 million headquarters at Toledo Express Airport. It has seven operation bases throughout the country.

Grand Aire is one of the largest air charter management companies in North America, according to company statements. It delivers auto parts and other cargo in addition to a charter passenger operation.

It had 27 aircraft ranging from twin piston to jet, including a DC-9. Two of the aircraft carry passengers and the remaining 25 are for freight.

The Associated Press, Andrew Schneider of the Post-Dispatch, and the Toledo Blade, contributed to this report.


You know, here's two guys that are hurt, in a river and knowing Downtown St. Louis if they were close enough to make the river any building or bridge down there would have been supremely easy to nail. I think it's just a crock of sh*t that simply because these two had middle-eastern names they're being held in custody. That's just B.S. plain and simple.
You know, here's two guys that are hurt, in a river and knowing Downtown St. Louis if they were close enough to make the river any building or bridge down there would have been supremely easy to nail. I think it's just a crock of sh*t that simply because these two had middle-eastern names they're being held in custody. That's just B.S. plain and simple.

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Yeah, I know Iqbal, he's a good guy - the other gentleman I may or may not know (there were a bunch of Mohammed's there)

I pray he gets better.
Wow that hits close to home, I just crossed that bridge last weekend on the way back to school. He pretty much crashed right downtown, that'd be a scary sight to see at rushhour.