I was just a few months old when the Mohawk Airlines airliner crashed on Pilot Knob Mountain in November 1969, so I wasn't here to experience what a major event it must have been. But having reported on the 50th anniversary of the crash earlier this month has made it clear how the local tragedy stuck in the minds of many who lived through it, or narrowly escaped being involved.
A blog post I wrote last week as a followup to the Nov. 17 article about the anniversary ran in Wednesday's print edition prompted calls from two men in their upper 80s who had some interesting information about the catastrophe.
One was Lake George resident David Martin, who ran a lumber mill on Bloody Pond Road in Lake George for years. He was in West Virginia buying equipment on Nov. 19, 1969, but a freak snowstorm there resulted in his flight home being postponed.
Otherwise, Martin said he would have been on Mohawk Airlines Flight 411 from Albany to Warren County Airport.
"If I had gotten on that flight out of West Virginia, I wouldn't be here," he recalled.
The other caller was Roger Jones of Johnsburg, who said he used to hunt at a camp in Canada with some men who were Mohawk Airlines pilots.
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During one night at camp the conversation turned to the plane crash, and Jones said some of the pilots recalled how they had flown to the Queensbury airfield, and taken the same approach the doomed pilot did.
Jones said they told him that there was something around that mountain range that seemed to interfere with their airplane instruments, such as a magnetic field.
"They said there was something there that threw off their instruments," he said. "They had all experienced it."
Asked if any of those pilots might still be around, Jones said, "Well, I'm almost 90, and they were all older than me."
-- Don Lehman