Long time Pilot Killed

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Postby lazair » Tue Jun 15, 2004 5:55 am

Here is a good Example of poor journalism. Printing Rubbish from a "pilot at a flight school". Really this sounds like a low time pilot that has little knowledge of the subject. His ignorance on the subjuct is very obvious. Although I do agree that all pilots should have proper training. But come on guys we have come a very long way from the flying lawn chair syndrome in the late 70s early 80s.

Lazair


.....Ultralight operators don't need a pilot's license to fly, and that's one of the problems associated with the aircraft, said Craig DeVries, a pilot at Bald Eagle Flight School located at the airport. ......
"They're basically made out of nylon vinyl," he said. "It's a go-cart with a pair of wings. You can usually take a pencil and stab it through a wing. And if you can fly one, you're an instructor. Most people teach themselves...........


Longtime Pilot killed


06/15/04
Longtime pilot killed in crash


Gloria Philbrick could hear the ultralight plane's engine humming strong and smooth as she watched her husband Ray taxi it across the runway Sunday morning.

It was a good day for flying, light winds and a clear sky, and Ray wanted to test the engine to make sure it was in good working order. Gloria watched as her husband lifted off the ground and then leveled the plane's nose to descend back to the runway, what pilots call "crow-hopping," she said.

The plane lowered behind a row of trees that lined the runway and she lost sight of her husband. But she could still hear the humming engine -- until the crash.

"I thought maybe it was a difficult landing," Gloria said Monday afternoon. "I really was not anticipating it was going to be the disaster it was."

The ultralight plane crashed around 10:20 a.m. on Runway 927 at the Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda. Ray Philbrick, an 80-year-old North Port man who'd been a licensed pilot since the 1940s, died on impact.

"Everything we do we've always done it as a team," Gloria said of losing her husband of 43 years. "It's like I'm stuck in a vacuum and the clock is stopped."

The cause of Sunday's crash was still unknown Monday. The Federal Aviation Administration will not investigate because the aircraft is not licensed, according to a spokesman from the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.

Natives of Lawrence, Mass., the Philbricks moved to Port Charlotte in 1987, just two years after Ray retired from his job as a stationary steam engineer at a hospital. The couple moved to North Port six years later.

Philbrick had been interested in aviation since he was a little boy building model airplanes, Gloria said. After earning his private pilot's license, he bought his first plane for $25 in the 1950s.

"He had other interests," Gloria said. "But he's always gone back to airplanes. They say once you've made your first solo flight you're never the same person."

Through the years, the couple owned several different types of airplanes, including a Cessna 172 and a Cessna 150. In 1997, Philbrick became interested in flying ultralight planes. He received training on flying the ultralights, and Gloria said the couple were part of a club that promotes safety and training.

The Philbricks bought the custom-made, purple-striped ultralight plane Philbrick was flying Sunday three years ago.

"What happened yesterday is not a common occurrence," Gloria said Monday. "It is a recreation that has some danger to it. But you don't just sit in one and take off. You need the training and you need to be certified."

Ultralight operators don't need a pilot's license to fly, and that's one of the problems associated with the aircraft, said Craig DeVries, a pilot at Bald Eagle Flight School located at the airport.

DeVries said he doesn't agree with the whole ultralight industry and gave plenty of reasons about their dangers.

"They're basically made out of nylon vinyl," he said. "It's a go-cart with a pair of wings. You can usually take a pencil and stab it through a wing. And if you can fly one, you're an instructor. Most people teach themselves.

"Most of the pilots are those who can't get a medical clearance to fly a real plane. They don't need to go through the training you go through to be a pilot."

DeVries said most ultralights don't have radios and have fragile frames.

"They have a 250-pound weight limit with fuel, and most can only carry 5 gallons. They also don't go very high. If there's a problem, they usually go down where they're at. They don't glide very well at low altitudes," he added.

The aircraft moves with the use of one propeller and it can remain in the air for about two to three hours on a single tank of fuel.

DeVries said he also saw Sunday's wreck from a distance. He said Philbrick went up, back down, and up again, and into the ground.

Gary Quill, the airport's director, said two witnesses heard a loud sputter before the crash. Gloria said the plane did not sputter and that the engine sounded fine until the impact.

When the plane crashed, Gloria rushed to the scene on a golf cart. She found her husband's plane, a twisted heap of aqua and purple metal, and noticed he was not moving. Airport officials arrived at the same time, and Charlotte County sheriff's deputies and rescue workers arrived soon after. Gloria said they tried to keep her from the scene, from seeing her husband in the crashed plane.

"I could see the damage," she said. "I had seen enough."

Coincidentally, Philbrick was killed the same day former President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 80th birthday with a parachute jump from 13,000 feet over his presidential library at the University of Texas.

Bush jumped strapped to a member of the U.S. Army parachute team. Officials deemed a solo jump by Bush too dangerous based on wind conditions and low clouds. Bush also jumped out of a plane for his 75th birthday.

Gloria said her husband was like Bush in that way, an active doer who was never one to sit home and watch baseball games. Flying wasn't his only hobby. He was a boater, and when the couple lived in Pennsylvania, they rode snowmobiles.

"He was 80, but he just liked to go out and be as active as he could," Gloria said. "He had a zest for life. He was a good man."

Funeral arrangements are pending.

You can e-mail Christian Czerwinski at cczerwinski@sun-herald.com.

You can e-mail April Frawley at afrawley@sun-herald.com.


By CHRISTIAN CZERWINSKI and APRIL FRAWLEY

Staff Writers
lazair
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Postby rcflyer » Thu Jul 22, 2004 10:47 am

No wonder there are fewer people getting into flying. I agree, its hard to get out from the old myths and legends of the 70's and 80's. I think this site is doing its best to help change the poor attitutes and traning practices of the old days.

Its always sad to hear when someone is injured or killed when so much could be avoided.
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