LOCAL NEWS

LISTEN: Inflight audio from from stolen Horizon airplane

Aug 13, 2018, 12:09 PM | Updated: Aug 14, 2018, 12:24 pm

The audio in this article has been edited from the original recording of Richard “Beebo” Russell and Sea-Tac officials during the flight of a stolen Horizon airplane over Puget Sound. Portions that do not pertain to the incident have been removed.

Audio recordings from the air traffic control tower at Sea-Tac Airport feature the conversation between the tower and the man who stole a Horizon airplane, flew it over Puget Sound, and crashed it on Ketron Island.

RELATED: Body, black box recovered from Ketron Island

The audio of Beebo comes in clips between other communications between the control tower and other airplanes. But in the handful of clips, adding up to about 11 minutes, the man can be heard indicating that he wanted to do maneuvers, but didn’t focus too much on landing the plane.

Beebo was jovial and friendly during much of the discussion, covering how much fuel he had and the sights he was seeing. He does say that flying the plane was “a blast” and that he played video games before, so he had an idea of how to fly it.

He talked about a range of things with the control tower, such as how he feels Horizon pays ground service agents a very low wage for their work. He asks the pilot on the line how to pressurize the cabin — he was feeling lightheaded and dizzy. He mentions that he threw up at one point. He also apologized for the trouble he caused and hoped it didn’t ruin the controller’s day.

When the air traffic controller or the pilot mention places for him to land, such as McChord Air Force Base, Beebo steers the conversation away. After viewing Mount Rainier, and then flying over to see the Olympic Mountains — which he noted were beautiful — he asked for the coordinates of the orca that researchers are helping in north Puget Sound. In between these statements, he addresses what he was doing.

“I got a lot of people that care about me,” Beebo says. “And, uh, it’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy. Got a few screws loose, I guess. Never really knew it until now.”

Eventually, he becomes fixated on performing a barrel roll in the turboprop airplane.

“Hey pilot guy, can this thing do, uh, back flip thing?” he says.

“I think I’m going to try to do a barrel roll and if that goes good, I’m just going to go nose down and call it a night,” he later says.

“I’m going to do a barrel roll real quick … I feel like I need to be, what do you think, like 5,000 feet at least to pull this barrel roll off.”

At one point, Beebo did roll the plane, coming close to the water.

“Alright Rich, congratulations, you did that,” the pilot can be heard on the recording. “Now let’s turn and land that airplane safely and not hurt anybody on the ground”

“Alright,” Beebo responds. “Ah damn it, I don’t know, man. I don’t know! I don’t want to. I was hoping that was going to be it, ya know.”

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LISTEN: Inflight audio from from stolen Horizon airplane