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Thu, Jun 19, 2003

Graduation Day Tragedy

Candy Drop Turns Fatal for Idaho Pilot

Paul Davis, 55, was killed a week ago Sunday, in a sad crash of his Aviat A-1A Husky. He and friend Dan McNall, 22, were overflying a Sandpoint (ID) High School graduation party for a handful of students, adding to the festivities, dropping candy.

What went wrong has not been precisely determined. Davis was dead at the scene; McNall got a broken nose and possibly a broken wrist; he was out of Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane (WA) on Monday, but had to return for further surgery.

The NTSB investigator on the case, Kurt Anderson, told ANN, "At the time of the accident, he [Davis] was not making a candy drop; he had already made about four passes over a pond where candy was dropped (by the passenger, not the pilot); and he headed to a field just south of there, and made a left descending turn. There was a pickup truck just outside the eastern boundary of the field, heading toward the north (toward the pond).

"The truck, it was reported, had the girlfriend of the passenger in it, and the aircraft passed the pickup very slowly, at about 40-50 feet above the ground, and it continued until it approached a tree line; he then made a shallow left bank, the nose came up steeply, the aircraft rolled right, and impacted the terrain." Anderson continued, "We know essentially what happened; we need to know why it happened, and how it happened. We have done a significant amount of inspection of the aircraft and airframe, already; we have more to do."

A routine toxicology report was ordered on the pilot.

Davis, well-known at the airport as a frequent flier, was also locally-known as a firefighter, an outdoorsman, and an amateur radio operator. The local paper said, "He volunteered for Bonner County Search and Rescue, in addition to Northside Fire District and the Sandpoint Fire Department." He was also a volunteer on the Bonner County Airport Advisory Board.

As a Marine pilot in Vietnam, Davis received more than one Purple Heart, and the Navy Flying Cross. In one combat accident, Davis was a passenger, the only survivor of a Huey crash.

**   Report created 6/18/2003   Record 2   **
IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 141F        Make/Model: HUSK      Description: A-1 HUSKY
  Date: 06/08/2003     Time: 2230
  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial
LOCATION
  City: SANDPOINT   State: ID   Country: US
DESCRIPTION
  ACFT STALLED IN A TURN AT LOW ALTITUDE AND CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES, TWO PERSONS ON BOARD, ONE WAS FATALLY INJURIED AND ONE SUSTAINED SERIOUS INJURIES, 10 MILES NORTH OF SANDPOINT, ID
INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:  1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Pass:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   1     Min:   0     Unk:   
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   
WEATHER: METAR KCOE 2235Z AUTO 23009G14KT 10SM FEW080 28/AA A2967
OTHER DATA
  Activity: Pleasure      Phase: Unknown      Operation: General Aviation
  Departed: SANDPOINT, ID               Dep Date: 06/08/2003   Dep. Time:
  Destination: SANDPOINT, ID            Flt Plan: NONE         Wx Briefing: Y
  Last Radio Cont: UNK
  Last Clearance: UNK
  FAA FSDO: BOISE, ID  (NM11)                     Entry date: 06/09/2003 #


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