IST'S NICHT EIN HAUFEN MIST? AlterNet has speculation on whether or not Senator Paul Wellstone's plane crash might have been no accident. Read the story closely. Focus on the recurring references to "small plane." More likely, the reality is an accident. Senators charter small planes to get around (King Airs and similar executive turboprops are popular, Lear Jets are rare) because it is not fiscally responsible to charter a jet for a relatively small staff, and commercial air schedules, based on hub-and-spoke networks, don't work well for campaign swings. My brother has supplemented his income flying right seat on Wisconsin Senator Kohl's plane. Small planes are not inherently any less safe than any other kind of planes, but they are not fail safe. It might also be the case that the important passengers (or their pilots) have a serious case of get-home-itis, which my brother tells me is the single biggest killer of pilots. But asking the pilot to take a dive for the cause? We're talking about charter aircraft pilots, not zealots.

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