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Cessna 177 Takeoff Accident Claims Life of AOPA VP McSpadden

Airplane Reportedly Turned Back To The Airport After Takeoff Emergency

ANN has learned and verified that an accident took the life of a Senior AOPA official with an extensive aviation and aviation safety background. 

AOPA has issued a statement that notes, "We are deeply saddened to report that Richard McSpadden, AOPA Senior Vice President, died in an aircraft accident outside Lake Placid, New York, on Sunday afternoon. The Cardinal 177 in which Richard was in the right seat experienced an emergency after takeoff. The airplane attempted to return to the airport but failed to make the runway. Both occupants lost their lives. Richard was a very accomplished pilot, including serving as Commander of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds during his military career, a trusted colleague, friend, son, husband, and father. Richard is survived by his wife, Judy; his son, Grant; and his daughter, Annabel. Our thoughts are with Richard’s family at this time. We will provide more details as they are available."

A native of Panama City, Florida, McSpadden started flying as a teenager and logged over 5,000 hours flying a variety of civilian and military aircraft. McSpadden was a commercial pilot, CFII, MEI with SES, MES ratings, and a 525S (Citation Jet Single Pilot) type rating. He taught his son to fly, instructed his daughter to solo in their Piper Super Cub, previously owned a 1950 Navion that was in his family for almost 40 years, and most recently owned a 1993 Piper Super Cub.

McSpadden held a degree in Economics from the University of Georgia, and a Master of Public Administration from Troy University. He was also a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air War College.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov


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