A Horizon Q400 like the one stolen by Richard Russell, the Seatle plane thief.

On the evening of Friday August 10th, 2018, Horizon Air Ground Service Agent Richard Russell approached an unattended Horizon Bombardier Q400 parked in a cargo and maintenance area of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. After using equipment to rotate the plane toward the runway, Russell boarded and started the engines. Soon he was taxiing despite the protests of Sea-Tac Air Traffic Control.

The Seattle plane thief’s flight struck a chord with me. Although I caught the story just a few short hours after Russell ended his life, I deliberately avoided listening to the recordings of his conversation with ATC.

The following week, a couple of coworkers decided to listen to the audio. Walking out of our shared office would have looked strange, so I sat and listened to the Seattle plane thief’s final hour while filing my flight packets.

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