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Re: This week marks sad anniversaries for the music industry
Unlike the way it is now, in 1964, the Approach Controller, John Hettish, could only advise Jim; Reeves was the pilot in command. John told him a right turn would keep him clear of the rain area. As he explained in one of the interviews I did with him for my book, "Jim Reeves: His Untold Story," he had planned just a short deviation for Jim whereby Reeves would make a right turn (to the east) and only go a little way, thus going around the rain cell, and then turn northward to land. This would have sufficed since the rain cell was so small. It would not have added any significant time to Jim's flight.
There was absolutely no need for Jim to land at any other airport; he just needed to avoid the rain area, and he thought he could do that by staying on his present heading, as the rain was off to his left as he looked in the direction of the airport. So he declined to turn right and in so doing, made his first of three fateful decisions that day.
Unfortunately, the intense rain cell intersected his flight path and opened up on him and he lost his visual references.
Jim's close friend and fellow pilot, T. Tommy Cutrer of WSM, said "I blame the controller," but I do not share that view.
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