Re: JFK Jr. Reported missing
Sun, 18 Jul 1999 11:00:14 -0700

Michael S. Lorrey, <>, writes:
> General aviation (private planes) has a two to three times higher
> accident rate per 100,000 population than commercial aviation.
> Considering John Jr. was a student pilot with a broken foot (he had his
> instructor along) there is obviously a complex risk factor here.

I don't believe this is true; he got his pilot's license about a year ago and did not have an instructor in the plane. I don't know whether he had any foot problems.

However he was a relatively low time pilot (perhaps 200 hours) and night flight over the ocean is always somewhat risky due to the lack of visual references, especially on a moonless night. Apparently there was considerable haze as well. Under these circumstances you basically need to be flying on instruments, and it has been shown many times that VFR pilots are often unable to do so safely. He was also flying a high performance airplane he'd only owned for two months. In this kind of plane you have to stay abreast of the situation or things get out of control very quickly. The most plausible explanation at this point is a loss of positional awareness leading to a stall/spin from which he was unable to recover.

I wonder if we could interpret the Kennedy "curse" in terms of risk seeking behavior. A number of the deaths have involved at least somewhat risky behavior, like general aviation, skiing, boating. Of course millions of people fly, ski and boat every year without being killed, but perhaps the Kennedys push the envelope when they participate in these activities.

As for the assassinations, we might dip into the conspiracy theory waters a bit and speculate that John and Robert Kennedy took excessive risks at the level where real power is wielded behind the scenes. Maybe they crossed the wrong people, refused to go along with the system, tried bluffing people who were playing for keeps. Being President was not enough, it was necessary to raise the stakes even further. Eventually they pushed too hard and were eliminated, making it look like a deranged assassin. (This is more plausible in the case of John than Robert, of course.)