Hot Springs, VA Executive Plane Crashes On Landing, Oct 1971


Hot Springs, Va. (UPI) -- A private executive plane crashed in heavy fog while landing at a mountaintop airport near here Saturday, killing all six men aboard, including executives of two firms which designed and operated the Enrico Fermi nuclear plant near Monroe, Mich.
Airport manager GENE COPLEY said the six were all "killed on impact" when the Merlin turboprop, flying on instruments, crashed about 75 feet short of the approach end of the runway. The crash was witnessed by WALKER L. CISLER, chairman of Detroit Edison Co.
The dead were MYRON C. BEEKMAN, 50, Orchard Lake, Mich., a Detroit Edison employe on leave to Power Reactor Development Co. which operates the nuclear plant; CHARLES E. BRANYAN, 46, Grosse Ile, Mich., general manager of Atomic Power Development Associates, Inc., designer of the plant; ROBERT C. WELCH, 49, the pilot and owner of Welch Chartered Air Service in Alpena, Mich.; PHILLIP GENSCHAW, 26, the co-pilot, also of Alpena; and two Japanese executives whose names were being withheld at the request of the Japanese embassy.
The four executives were on their way to Hot Springs to meet with CISLER to discuss the Japanese continued participitation in sponsoring the Enrico Fermi plant over the next six years. CISLER was at the airport waiting to take the executives to the meeting.
Visibility at Ingalls Field, atop a 3,800-foot Allegheny mountain peak was described as "just about zero-zero" at the time. With the airport tower shut down for the day, the pilot was flying under directions from federal air controllers at Leesburg, Va., COPLEY said. Airport personnel said the plane made two or three passes before finally trying to land.
The airport serves Hot Springs, where about 100 of the nation's leading businessmen and government officials have been attending the semi-annual meeting of the business Council.

Lowell Sun Massachusetts 1971-10-17