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Aero-News BOLO: Pilot Missing En Route From CA To VA

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 empty.

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.

FMI: Jim Willess BOLO, oasis@erols.com

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