Letters to the Editor

Letter: Tragedy at Dutch Harbor

First of all, my sincere condolences to the Oltman family, who lost their family member David in the tragic accident at Dutch Harbor on Thursday, Oct. 17.

But the Ravn group keeps using the name of Penair as the operator. The company that I founded in 1955 in Bristol Bay, was incorporated in 1965 as “Peninsula Airways, Inc.,” which eventually changed into the DBA “Penair.” My son Danny served as the CEO and actual owner of the corporation for most of the past 10 years or more.

We went through a bankruptcy ending in December 2018, caused by our 10 years of efforts to acquire and put into service the Saab 2000 type aircraft. We were the first U.S. airline to utilize that aircraft, which has the unique ability to carry 45 passengers at 400 mph, and still operate safely off of a 4,000-foot runway such as the one at Dutch Harbor.

Since then, the Ravn group, which is majority-owned by a Lehman Bros. corporation in New York, has systematically deleted all references to the Penair name, firing Danny and other key longtime employees. When you go to the airport, look at the arrivals/departures signs. No longer is there any listing for Penair flights, only Ravn.

As to last Thursday’s flight, they were attempting to land downwind in a 25-knot tailwind! No aircraft could safely operate at Dutch Harbor under those circumstances, and I assure you that crew would never have been cleared to operate that aircraft under my and Danny’s management.

This is not a reflection on the crew’s capabilities, as I believe they simply did not have the training or experience for those conditions.

— Orin Seybert


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