Volume 3, Issue 28  July 13, 2001




                It was supposed to be an uneventful journey. That was, until four

                people?one American and three Japanese?ditched at sea and spent

                16 hours in a life raft. Pilot Mike Smith, Arinori Yamagata,

                Katsuyoshi Ida, and Haruko Kikukawa were rescued Monday by a

                Russian freighter off the coast of Russia when the engine died in the

                Pilatus PC-12 they were flying. Mike Smith told NBC's Today Show

                Thursday that he shut the engine down because of engine

                overspeed. As it came to a stop, he heard mechanical grinding

                noises and knew it would not restart. Smith immediately told the

                crew he was going to ditch. They donned survival suits and prepared

                for ditching after a 10- to 15-minute descent. The ditching was

                smooth and there was no apparent hull damage. They later caught

                the attention of a Russian cargo ship by firing a flare. They were part

                of a 16-person AOPA-Japan group flight that launched! ! on an

                around-the-world pleasure flight on June 1. They completed the flight

                on July 5 in Japan, but the PC-12 was on its way back to Idaho

                where it was based. For more on the trip, see the Web site.

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