February 18th in Aviation History

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

On the 18th of February, 2010, an office building of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States was rattled by a crash and explosion. A single engine piston aircraft, a Piper Dakota slammed into the four story building known as Building 1 of the Echelon Complex in Austin, Texas. One IRS Manager died and 13 other people were injured as the plane exploded in a fireball.

The Piper Dakota, A Variant of the Piper Cherokee. Image Credits: Wikimedia

It turned out that the motivation to crash a Piper Dakota into the office building came out of disillusionment and frustration. The pilot was Andrew Jospeh Stack. A North Austin resident and a software engineer consultant. In a suicide note he uploaded to a website, he mentioned his disillusionment against government agencies and corporations such as the IRS. Before the crash, he had also burnt his residence.

At the time of the incident, Joseph Stack was being audited by the IRS for failure to declare his income.

Joseph Stack owned the Piper Dakota airplane and also had a license to fly. He had rented a hangar where he ahd kept it parked. He boarded his single-engine Piper Dakota airplane and took off around 9:45 a.m. Central Standard Time. He indicated to the control tower his flight would be “going southbound, sir.” After taking off, his last words were “thanks for your help, have a great day.”

It is also speculated that he removed the passenger seats and replaced them with fuel barrels to maximize the explosion and fire.

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