Richard Russell Horizon Air Q400 HiJack and Microsoft Flight Simulator

Q400 Microsoft Flight Simlulator Seattle Hijack Richard Russell

(Image Credit Denis Kabelev / Shutterstock)


Richard Russell stole a Horizon Air Q400 from SeaTac airport. What looked like a joyride seemed to transition into a deathwish as the aircraft crashed on Ketron Island in Southern Puget Sound.

As reported in the press, everyone is asking how he could have done this? He is not a pilot, where did he learn to start up and fly this aircraft? I can probably come up with a pretty good possibility how he would have known to pull this off.

While Richard was speaking to the air traffic controllers he stated, “I’ve played video games before so I know what I’m doing a little bit.” I don’t think we are talking just any video game. It is my opinion the investigators will find out he spent many hours, maybe years, using any number of flight simulator programs, including but not limited to Microsoft Flight Simulator X.

MS Flight Simulator is as close as anybody can get to flying a plane without leaving the ground. There is even a flight ground school program built into the software. And in fact at one time, I believe the FAA allowed up to 10 hours of recorded flight sim experience toward their licensing requirements.

The Majestic Software Q400 is one of the aircraft that you can upload into the game. And in fact the following video even shows how to start up the Q400. Advance to 4:08 into the video to learn how to start a Q400.

Here is a short video of a takeoff and short flight of the Q400

MS Flight Simulator allows you to choose your aircraft, your airport and your staging spot. After learning how to start up and fly the aircraft in simulator program, he could have literally moved the sim aircraft to the exact place he started it up, taxi out to the runway, taken off and flown the same routes he flew Friday night.

I am speaking from experience. I have many hours invested over the past 15 years with MS Flight simulator. I have even been given the opportunity to take second seat in many of the aircraft I flew with the simulator. I know for a fact I could start up a 737 and take off. I know I could take over the controls and land it in an emergency. It’s that accurate.

Most commercial aircraft do not require a key to start. Maybe the solution is a key or an electronic card or chip based technology only available to the pilots which would unlock the initial start up procedures of commercial aircraft. And no, you cannot start up a Q400 with the flip of one switch. If you watch the video above you have to complete many tasks, in order, for the aircraft to even start.

Off subject but noteworthy, on one of my projects out at Edwards AFB, it was brought to my attention inmates from the former Boron Federal Prison Camp(FPC) would work out at the base each day. However if that inmate was a pilot, they were not allowed to take those positions and had to stay at the camp. Why do you think that was?

Yes, we need secure options in place to keep this from happening again. And yes, it is my opinion a games based flight simulator was instrumental in giving the wannabe pilot hijacker enough knowledge to take flight in a real aircraft.


Orange County CA Realtor Leaving Fake Reviews On Google And Yelp

Negative online reviews

I was contacted by an attorney for a real estate brokerage on the Orange County CA coast regarding a malicious attack on a luxury real estate brokerage.

The suspected individual who was an agent for this brokerage, refused to sign employment forms and that is when they parted ways…so they ended up giving him a referral fee for a deal that we closed that ended up going sideways – it was his friend/referral and they think there was some funny business going on. The attorney got involved with that and this individual signed an NDA – disparagement agreement and everything before he left so they covered their ends. Then a number of false negative reviews started the day after he signed the release.

The brokerage alleges this individual started a campaign of leaving false negative reviews to harm their online reputation. A number of negative reviews were left on Yelp. I was able to have all of these negative reviews removed as they came from newly established Yelp accounts from non-Yelpers. This means an individual signs up for a Yelp account and immediately leaves a negative review moments later only to be never heard from again.

Over this same period of time, 8 negative reviews showed up on Google from NEW Google accounts which were worded as negative personal attacks against this brokerage without describing a specific consumer experience. And in fact, a few of these reviews had some of the same sentence structure. I have flagged these reviews with Google and have an appointment in the AM to discuss. I am going to assume the investigators from Google will see these were all new accounts with no prior activity and could have possibly come from the same IP address.

When you look at all of the positive reviews on Yelp, Facebook and Zillow for this brokerage the negative reviews are inconsistent with the overall reputation of the brokerage.

I was given the name of the suspected attacker. He has 4 Zillow reviews even though the MLS shows no actual transactions for this real estate agent. I have ordered an audit from Zillow.

He tried representing himself as a “Baller” real estate agent with a publicized listing. He borrowed a car from a local luxury automotive dealer and posted a shot in front of this luxury property with he and the car. Turns out it is his parents house, where he lives.

To date, all we have is circumstantial evidence so I am not going to name him at this time.  I will however when solid evidence comes in. This will be dealt with in the courts and he could lose his real estate license.

To me, he looks like a poser. Sour grapes for being an unethical Realtor. I will have a follow up post as we learn more.

I am TED. The original TED. Don’t mess with me. Don’t mess with my clients.