EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) -- A spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration says FAA inspectors will conduct a special review of pilot hiring practices at the air charter company used by the late Sen. Paul Wellstone.
Although the inquiry is not a top-to-bottom inspection of the company, spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said that will remain an option for the FAA.
Agents from the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the Oct. 25 crash that killed Wellstone and seven others two weeks before the election.
While the government normally investigates the backgrounds of pilots involved in any crash, Cory said the FAA is going a step further in this case because of published reports that two employees of the charter company -- including the chief pilot on Wellstone's flight -- had background problems that were not detected when they were hired.
The company, Aviation Charter of Eden Prairie, is owned by Roger and Shirley Wikner. The Wikners also own Executive Aviation, the airplane maintenance affiliate of Aviation Charter.
"We are looking at all their pilots and the hiring of those pilots," Cory told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. "We're really going to take some extra-close looks at their records."
Through a spokeswoman, Roger Wikner said Friday: "We are completely in compliance, and we don't expect them to find anything negative."
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