Last week, a private plane attempted to take off from a runway at a Sedona, Arizona airport killing a two-time former Olympian. The twin-engine Beech 60 was piloted by former Olympian Pat Porter, a cross country runner, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. According to witnesses, the plane, a twin-engine Beech 60, never ascended and, instead, struck a fence after going off the runway. All three people on board were killed, including Porter's son, Conner.
Conner competed as a cross country runner in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. He met his wife Pat, who is also a former Olympian, at pre-Olympic training camp for the Seoul Olympics. Pat is survived by his wife Trish and daughter Shannon.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Administration are investigation the plane crash. The FFA is a government agency whose authority includes regulating all aspects of civil aviation. The NTSB is the governmental agency charged with investigation all aviation crashes in the United States. According to the NTSB, takeoffs and landings are considered the most critical phases of flight travel. As a result, take off and landings pose a particularly high risk of plane crashes causing serious personal injury or death.
There are not many details concerning how this plane crash occurred other than the plane ran off the runway striking a fence. However, according to one pilot, Stephen Loftin, there are certain conditions about the airport in Sedona that can make takeoff and landing challenging. Loftin said "you always have gusts here. Updrafts, downdrafts, it's just the predicament, all pilots have...[with] taking off and landing here." Whether these conditions caused or contributed to the crash will, no doubt, be one of the areas examined by the NTSB.
CNN, Three People Killed In Arizona Plane Crash, July 26, 2012.
National Transportation Safety Board, Runway Safety, Viewed July 27, 2012.
Travelers Today, 2012 Olympics: Former Olympian Pat Porter Killed In Plane Crash, July 30, 2012.