Sun, Mar 04, 2007
Last Radar Contact Over Texas Panhandle
ANN has confirmed a pilot ferrying a Vans RV-6 aircraft from
California to Virginia this week has gone missing, possibly in
the vicinity of the Texas panhandle. Friends and family
are looking for any information that may help point rescuers
in the right direction.
According to sources, Jim Willess flew commercially to
California early last week to pick up the RV-6, which had been
purchased by a third party. Reports indicate he began the flight
eastward Wednesday, bound for Virginia's Warrenton-Fauquier Airport
(W66). The first indicate of trouble came when Willess failed
to check in with his family Wednesday night.
Phil Williams, Director of Membership for USUA Flying Club #1 in
Virginia, told ANN Willess was flying a fire-engine red RV-6,
registry N320TX (shown above.) According to Mr. Williams, the plane
is equipped for IFR operation.
Search and Rescue coordinators said the last radar return from
the aircraft was over northwest Texas, approximately 3 miles
from the Texas-New Mexico border in the "panhandle" region. SAR
crews conducted a preliminary search Saturday, but came up
Willess is Training and Safety director for Club #1. Mr
Williams tells ANN Willess has between 25,000-26,000 hours
flying time, including "more airtime with engine-off landings in
cornfields than anyone else I've ever met."
Anyone with information about Jim Willess is encouraged to
contact local authorities, and to pass on that information at the
email links below.
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