Passenger Says Pilot Told Him To Jump
The pilot of an experimental biplane was killed Monday afternoon
in Florida, but not before ordering his passenger to parachute to
safety before impact.
According to WMBB-13, the accident aircraft -- an AcroDuster
SA750, a two-seat aerobatic bipe (file photo of type below) --
crashed shortly after takeoff from Panama City-Bay County
International Airport (PFN) around 1:00 pm EDT.
Craig Ellis, 48, said the plane's pilot, 31-year-old Kevin
Gorham, told him to jump from the plane when it began experiencing
problems. Ellis told local media they had just come out of
maneuvering flight when the trouble began.
"Kevin did everything a pilot was supposed to do," Ellis told
the Panama City News-Herald. "Something in the controls... the
rudder or the stick... got screwed up."
After cutting himself free, Ellis called 911 for help. Gorham
was killed when his plane impacted a heavily-wooded area in
Northern Bay county.
Gorham was an instructor with Precision AvJet, a family-owned
FBO based at Panama City. A visibly shaken Ellis credited the pilot
with saving his life Monday, at the expense of his own.
Investigators with the FAA and NTSB were expected to be on-scene
by Tuesday morning.
EXP Description: ACRODUSTER SA
Date: 06/16/2008 Time: 1946
Event Type: Accident Highest Injury:
Fatal Mid Air: N Missing:
City: PANAMA CITY State: FL Country:
AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, THERE WERE TWO
BOARD, ONE WAS FATALLY INJURED, ONE PARACHUTED TO SAFETY, 8
PANAMA CITY, FL
INJURY DATA Total
# Crew: 1 Fat:
# Pass: 1 Fat:
Fat: 0 Ser:
WEATHER: 1946Z 2120/08 10SM SKC 30/21 A2990
Activity: Unknown Phase:
Unknown Operation: OTHER
FAA FSDO: BIRMINGHAM, AL
Entry date: 06/17/2008