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Thread: Arizona Air Tanker Pilot Killed In Crash During Training Mission

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Arizona Air Tanker Pilot Killed In Crash During Training Mission

    Arizona Air Tanker Pilot Killed In Crash During Training Mission

    HEATHER CASPI
    Firehouse.Com News

    Arizona-based Air tanker pilot James Edward Towell died in the line of duty March 16 when his plane crashed during a training flight and practice drop mission for the Bureau of Land Management's Single-Engine Air Tanker Pilot Academy.

    The plane crashed in Arizona's Black Hills, about 17 miles east of Safford. The cause of the crash is under investigation by the NTSB and Department of the Interior's Office of Aircraft Management, said Towell's employer, Burl Shears of Western Pilot Service in Phoenix, Arizona.

    Towell, 63, began piloting air tankers for wildland firefighting efforts in the mid 1980s, Shears said, serving the Department of the Interior through private contractors in several states including Idaho, Montana and Oregon.

    Towell also worked for many years at Hemet Ryan Airport in California where he was a flight instructor for Hemet Ryan Aviation and a pilot for Sailplane Enterprises.

    Shears described Towell as personable, highly experienced and truly interested in air tanker operations. "His true love in life was flying and all aspects of flying," Shears said. "He was well-liked in the aviation community and well-repected."

    Shears said Towell had over 17,000 hours of total flight time including 6,000 hours of low level operations and over 500 hours of air tanker operations. He was also helicopter-rated and glider-rated.

    "He was by no means new," Shears said.

    Towell is survived by his wife Stacie and granddaughter Keely Logan of Hemet, California.

    A memorial service was held Friday, March 26 in Lloyd Venable Park at Hemet Ryan Airport, with an Honor Guard from the Department of the Interior, Shears said. The family requests that any memorial contributions be made to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...7&sectionId=39

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Towell, James E

    Age: 63
    Cause of Death: Struck By/Contact with Object
    Rank: Pilot
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Status: Career
    Emergency Duty: No

    Incident Date: 03/16/2004
    Duty Type: Training
    Incident Time:
    Activity Type: Driving/Operating Vehicle/Apparatus
    Death Date: 03/16/2004
    Fixed Prop. Use: Outdoor Property

    Fire Dept. Info:
    National Aviation Office (NAO)
    3833 S. Development Ave.
    Boise , Idaho 83705
    Chief: Aviation Group Manager Dave Dash

    Initial Summary:
    Died in an aircraft crash near Safford, AZ, while training at the BLM's Single-Engine Air Tanker (SEAT) Pilot Academy.


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...eath_year=2004

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