(Extensions of Remarks - March 25, 1999)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E578]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                       TRIBUTE TO SCOTT ANDERSON


                         HON. JAMES L. OBERSTAR

                              of minnesota

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, March 25, 1999

  Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Scott 
Anderson, a Duluth resident and pioneer in general aviation. On March 
23rd, Scott died at the age of 33 following a tragic crash that 
occurred while he was testing a new aircraft in Northern Minnesota.
  Scott was fatally injured when the first SR20 airplane to come off 
Cirrus Design's production line, which he was piloting, crashed just 
short of the Duluth International Airport. The plane crash is not only 
a serious disappointment for Cirrus Design, but is also a tragedy for 
general aviation aircraft development, testing and evaluation--the most 
critical phase of bringing a new type and model of aircraft into the 
mainstream of aviation.
  A major in the Air National Guard, Scott was an experienced test 
pilot who flew F-16s for the military, in addition to his job as 
Director of Flight Operations and Chief Test Pilot for Cirrus Design. 
Test pilots are heroes of aviation who pioneer the testing of new, pre-
production aircraft to ensure that all systems comply with Federal 
Aviation Administration regulations. Scott made history last year when 
he piloted the SR20 during the first test of an innovative parachute 
recovery system; ironically, that safety device was not on board the 
aircraft he was flying at the time of the crash.
  While we must await the evaluation and findings of the National 
Transportation Safety Board regarding the causes of the crash, we know 
that Scott did everything humanly possible to bring the plane down 
safely so that innocent lives on the ground would not be lost. I offer 
my heartfelt sympathy to Scott's wife, Laurie, his parents, Paul and 
Carol, and siblings, Catherine and Todd Anderson, as well as to the 
Cirrus Design team, for their loss. I hope, in their grief, they know 
that Scott made a profound difference to the State of Minnesota and to 
the national aviation community.
  As a tribute to the memory and contribution Scott made to general 
aviation, which will benefit future generations, I submit an article 
written by Sam Cook that appeared in the Duluth News Tribune on March 
24, 1999. Mr. Cook is a talented writer who knew Scott Anderson for 
many years and with whom he shared a love of Minnesota's great 

             [From the Duluth News Tribune, Mar. 24, 1999]

                   Anderson Blessed Others With Life

                             (By Sam Cook)

       I can't recall exactly how Scott Anderson came into my 
     life. He just appeared, and once Scott Anderson appears in 
     your life it's never quite the same.
       He and his friend Steve Baker were planning a canoe trip 
     from Duluth to Hudson Bay. This was 1987. They were college 
     kids home for the summer, and they didn't know exactly what 
     they were getting into, but of course that didn't matter. 
     They were going to go no matter what. As I recall, they 
     borrowed a canoe that had been cracked up and patched back 
       I thought they might drown the day they left Duluth, Lake 
     Superior was kicking up, but they were behind schedule so 
     they made a break for it. They ended up portaging their canoe 
     along Minnesota Highway 61 to jump-start that trip, and you 
     could see that nothing else was going to hold them back.
       The trip was a throwback to the old Eric Sevareid and 
     Walter Port trip that Sevareid turned into his classic book, 
     ``Canoeing with the Cree.'' Scott and Steve made Hudson Bay, 
     all right, and it came as only a mild surprise when Scott 
     returned and said he was going to write a book about the 
       He had already built a submarine at college and paddled a 
     broken boat to Hudson Bay.
       Why couldn't he write a book?
       He did, of course. And he learned to fly an F-16. And next 
     thing you knew he was test flying airplanes for Cirrus 
       Scott was one of the most engaging people you could ever 
     hope to meet. He was big and blond and nearly bald, or else 
     his hair was just so light you couldn't see it. I never was 
     sure. But he had a countenance that told you he could handle 
     anything that came his way, probably without blinking.
       And that smile, When he unfurled that grin, a whole bunch 
     of happiness spilled into the room and you felt better just 
     for being in the man's presence.
       He had some devilment in there, too, but only the harmless 
     kind. There couldn't have been an ounce of meanness in that 
       Once, out of the blue, he called and asked me if I wanted 
     to be part of a race. He's been scheming again. There would 
     be four of us, in two canoes, he said. The two-person teams 
     would leave Duluth bound for different ends of the Boundary 
     Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We'd drive north, put in, 
     paddle across the wilderness, exchange car keys somewhere in 
     the middle, paddle out and drive back. First one back to 
     Duluth wins.
       I told him I couldn't make it, but it wouldn't surprise me 
     if he pulled that off, too.
       If you had a son, and he turned out to be Scott Anderson, 
     you would have to consider yourself one lucky mom or dad. If 
     Scott showed up at your door to date your daughter, you'd 
     send them off happily, close the door, look at your spouse 
     and smile. Not to worry. There was a guy you could count on.
       When I heard Tuesday afternoon that a Cirrus plane had gone 
     down, I got worried. When I learned later that night that 
     Scott hadn't made it, I sat in my living room and bawled my 
     guts out while my son played with his Legos.
       It would not surprise me if hundreds of others did exactly 
     the same thing I did. I'll bet Scott touched more lives in a 
     meaningful way in his 33 years than most of us will get to in 
     twice that. He was a brilliant, creative, remarkable guy.
       I keep seeing him in my mind, and all I see is that big 
     head and that wonderful grin and all that confidence behind 
       They say that as parents there are two things you want to 
     give your kids--roots and wings, Scott Anderson had both, but 
     he was partial to the wings.
       I hope he's still flying somewhere.