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Thread: Crash Claims Life of Texas Forest Service Pilot

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    Crash Claims Life of Texas Forest Service Pilot

    Crash Claims Life of Texas Forest Service Pilot

    JEFFREY McDONALD

    The Glass Mountain Fire has charred nearly 40,000 acres across two counties. And it has now claimed at least one life. Carl Ray Payne, 66, of Katy, Texas, was killed Sunday morning, May 7, when the aircraft he was piloting crashed in the rugged mountan country of northeastern Brewster County.

    Carl Ray Payne, 66 of Kay, Texas, was killed Sunday morning, May 7, when the aircraft he was piloting crashed in the rugged mountain country of northeastern Brewster County.

    Payne was operating an Air Tractor aircraft called a SEAT or single-engine air tanker. It very much resembles a crop duster, but is specially adapted for firefighting. He had arrived in Fort Stockton, Texas, the previous day as part of efforts by the Texas Forest Service to assist local firefighters combating the Glass Mountain Fire.

    Payne was one of two pilots operating firefighting aircraft out of the Pecos County Airport in Fort Stackton, under contract to the Forest Sercice to deliver water and chemical retardent on the blaze which was still out of control at that time. Centered in the rugged, remote mountain country of Pecos and far from serviceable roads, some points of the fire could only be attacked from the air.

    Payne had reportedly just completed a run over the fire and was in the process of pulling out-still close to the ground-when his craft stuck a transmission tower. He is believed to have died instantly. Official details of the crash are not yet available.

    It is reportedly under investigation by the Brewster County Sheriff

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    Payne, Carl Ray

    Age: 66
    Rank: Pilot, Wildland
    Status: Career
    Incident Date: 05/07/2000
    Incident Time: 13:00
    Death Date: 05/07/2000

    Cause of Death: Struck By/Contact with Object
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Texas Forest Service
    Rural Fire Defense
    P.O Box 310
    Lufkin, Texas 75901
    Chief: Bobby Young

    Final Summary:
    Pilot Payne had just dropped a load of fire retardant on a fire outside of Fort Stockton, Texas. The aircraft was an Air Tractor AT-802A. After the drop, Pilot Payne was circling two radio antenna (280 feet and 310 feet) when the outboard 5 feet of his right wing struck the antenna guide cables and support structure. Pilot Payne was able to level the aircraft and continued to fly; however, the aircraft was compromised and struck trees and terrain before coming to rest. Cable strands from the antenna towers were found among the aircraft wreckage. The cause of death for Pilot Payne was listed as multiple severe trauma. In a letter written to a friend just before his death, Pilot Payne said that the year 2000 was going to be his last year flying for a living and that he was going to relax with his hobbies and his family. He said that he was told by a good friend that life was not a dress rehearsal, it was the real thing, and that he was going for it. Additional information related to this incident may be found in National Transportation Safety Board Accident Investigation FTW00TA142.


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...l.cfm?p_id=714

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