Cessna 172-I

Cessna_172 image

On November 21, 1993, at 2:30 am Eastern Standard Time, a Cessna 172I, N35549, registered to Eagle Air, Incorporated, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and operated by an instrument-rated commercial pilot, departed Kalamazoo, Michigan for Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The airplane and pilot have been missing since then. A search did not locate either the airplane or pilot. No flight plan was on file. The airplane was presumed destroyed and the pilot is presumed to have sustained fatal injuries.

 Security records at the Battle Creek International Airport, in Battle Creek, Michigan, stated that a coded gate, giving access to the airplanes, was opened at 2:03 am. A guard also witnessed an airplane departing from Battle Creek International Airport at 2:30 am.

 Weather for both the departure and arrival airports was clear at the time of departure from Kalamazoo, and remained so for several hours thereafter.

 Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center did not record the departure of the Cessna 172-I, N35549, on radar because of a temporary shutdown to change tape reels. The computer started recording at 3:47 am. When the recorder resumed operation, the radar data revealed a target at 4:10 am, located 60 miles east of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, over Lake Michigan, descending from 7,500 mean sea level, and then disappear from radar at 2,500 feet while making five 360 degree turns. The radar target was not identified as the missing airplane.

 A search was initiated by the United States Coast Guard and the Civil Air Patrol. They searched for three days before abandoning the search for lack of sighting any evidence of the airplane. The search determined the airplane never reached its intended destination. No other airports reported seeing the airplane and no wrecking ever was found.

 Two days later, a transcript of an answering machine message, at 8:45 am from a phone listed to the pilot stated, “To those that are interested, I really did fly to Milwaukee on Saturday night. I’ll be back, if everything goes according to plan, sometime Sunday/Sunday evening. If you need to leave a message, feel free, at the tone, and I’ll call you back as soon as I can”.