killing the pilot, Thursday near the Lethbridge County Airport.
Shortly after it happened and my test flight was over, I was standing in the FBO office when a guy approached me.
"Say, sir, I'm So-And-So from the Herald. Can you guys get me closer over there for a view of the accident site."
I promptly advised him that I didn't work there.
That was it. I didn't tell him who did (they weren't around anyway), nor did I give him any other helpful information.
I knew exactly what was going to happen. Big photo on the front page of the paper. And I was right.
I understand that an airplane accident is news. I wish that it wasn't. After all, every stinking automobile accident doesn't get a front page, above-the-fold photo showing the injured (or deceased) driver.
Why there's such a difference, I don't know. I just wish there wasn't.
And I wish that pilot had taxiied over to the maintenance hangar to have someone look at his engine, like I did with mine. Maybe he'd still be here with us today.
For those that care, here's the text of the article that accompanied the photo:
Pilot dies in crash
Plane had just taken off from Lethbridge County Airport when crash occurred
BY STACY O'BRIEN
A large puff of black smoke "like a mushroom cloud" filled the sky briefly Wednesday marking the site of the crash of a small home-built aircraft.
The pilot of the craft was killed in the crash, said Cpl. Guy Sorensen, with the Lethbridge RCMP Traffic Services.
The crash took place just after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday west of the Lethbridge County Airport.
A source at the Lethbridge County Airport, who heard the pilot's distress call, said the pilot had just left the Lethbridge airport when he reported having trouble. Police could not confirm if the pilot was a male or a female, the age of the deceased or where the pilot was from but unconfirmed reports suggest it was a man piloting the plane.
The same source said the plane is thought to have been a home-built aircraft, possibly a Long EZ.
The crash took place about four kilometres west of Highway 5, along Twp Rd. 8-2.
Kendon Hastings was walking to his neighbour's house, just west of the gravel road where the plane crashed, when he saw smoke out of the corner of his eye.
"I saw the fire and then a big puff of black smoke," he said.
Another witness, who didn't want to be named, was at the scene shortly after the plane crashed and said there were flames that reached three metres.
The charred fuselage was upside down in the middle of gravel road.
In a farm field, around 20 metres away from the aircraft, there was a large swath of hay pressed down and one of the plane's wings that had been ripped off rested about 10 metres from the aircraft close to a ditch.
When the plane crashed it burst into flames and the hayfield close by also caught fire.
Coaldale deputy fire chief Jack Van Rijn said the Lethbridge Fire Department put out the flames on the small aircraft and the Coaldale Fire Department put out the flames in the adjacent field.
"When we pulled up we had to extinguish several grass fires," Van Rijn said. He said the fuel that had spilled out of the aircraft fed the flames.
Sorensen said he wasn't able to speculate on how the crash happened.
"We don't know if it was aircraft failure or pilot error," he said.
RCMP officers photographed the scene, contacted Transport Canada and planned to maintain a perimeter around the crash site.
Sorensen said he expected Transport Canada to be on the site to investigate the crash by around 9 p.m. Wednesday. Until that time, the body of the dead pilot had to remain in the aircraft.
Van Rijn said firefighters sprayed class B foam onto the aircraft to make sure there were no flare-ups because the fuselage continued to smoulder long after the flames were doused.
(c) 2005, Lethbridge Herald